Wednesday

How Can Tourists Act Water-Sensitive During a Drought and Water Crisis?


When you talk to people about their reasons to visit places, a big one is the weather. The endless summer, the warm days, the big blue sky and the brightest sunshine one can imagine. These are the perfect conditions for a summer vacation for tourists who wish to get away from the grey and miserable weather at home.

Let us say for example Cape Town, a place in a water-scarce region, and when we visit, we should remind ourselves that we are vacationing in such one. It is hard for people living in countries with sayings like “Oh, it is summer, the rain is warmer,” and where people look like they had just been lying in a river when they get back from grocery shopping on a rainy day.


It is discussed worldwide whether there is a correlation between CO2 emissions and global warming. Climate experts see a link between climate change and extreme droughts. There are also the politicians in our world who label scientists as stupid. They are convinced it is normal that there are periods of drought and they say they want to save money in order to protect families from rising costs of living and stop research programs in order to do that.

The last thing we tourists want to do on vacation is to think about world issues, but we have to; there is no way around it if we love the world and want to look after her.

What is the situation in drought stricken countries?

Often water dams that are water supplies to cities are at a record low. Have you ever wondered how this all works? The council puts water restrictions in place. Let us stick to Cape Town as an example. Right now every Capetonian is asked to use less than 100 litres of water a day, people use grey water to watering plants, and they don’t wash their cars or waste water in any way. The water has to come from somewhere, and there is not a lot of rain in Cape Town these days, more precisely there is hardly any rain at all. Locals know they are facing the risk of running out of water, it is serious. The government still has to put programs in place to make water consumption sustainable, and it looks like there were plans on the way to build desalination plants.

How can tourists act water-sensitive on vacation

As a tourist we are residents for a certain time and it would be just lovely to act as one. We are welcomed to visit so it should be no big deal to respect the region, its rules and conditions. Hosts probably feel uncomfortable telling us  that we have to save water, after all we are guests, and they want to give us  the best time and make us feel at home. So, make it easy for everyone. Here are a few things we can do.

Seven simple things ...

# Take short showers instead of a bath. It is a great idea to take a shower timer with you on vacation. In case the hotel or bed and breakfast doesn’t provide one asked them to install them in the showers, they might not have heard of these water savers.

# Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and/or cleaning your hands with soap.

# Fill water into a bottle, that way there is no need to open the tap every single time you want to drink a glass of water.

# As a surfer you don't need to clean your board with precious drinking water. Your board will survive for years to come without being cleaned.

# Do not wash fruit under running water. Better use a bowl (or the sink) in which you wash the fruit and vegetables. You can use the water afterwards to water the garden.

# “If it is yellow let it mellow …” What? Do not flush the toilet. Right, hang on, this sounds unusual especially if you are new to this topic. In drought stricken areas there is this rule and it is very self-explanatory. I promise you get used to it.

# If you are renting an apartment or cottage use the washing machine only when you have gathered a full load.

Let’s face it, we won’t be able to change the world, but we can do our bit to support countries in a water crisis. Once more, the first step as well as every drop count.

Want to read more about sustainable and green travel?


From Berlin with love

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Greetings stranger. I always try to be myself and to be a tourist as often as I can. I would love to get in contact with lots of hard travelling tourists who love to be out and about as much as I do. I am looking forward to all your comments. Thanks so much in advance.