Combating the Cape Drought

We understand your concerns in view of the current period of drought that is affecting the Western Cape, and we trust the following will set out our position and provide the assurances you are looking for with regards to tourism to the area. These assurances are also in line with the latest advice from The Official Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is dedicated to encouraging responsible tourism through the conservation of natural resources and has long had various environmental initiatives in place, including those relating to water conservation. For more information about these initiatives in support of the City of Cape Town, please follow this link.

Much like Southern California and Western Australia, Cape Town is susceptible to periodic droughts. As you may be aware, the current drought period is set to run until late May or possibly early June, when the winter rains are forecast to arrive. In view of this current situation, we want to give assurance on the measures Belmond Mount Nelson has put in place to effectively manage and maintain the water supply to the property, whilst encouraging a responsible approach to water usage by its guests. Again, this is in line with guidance from the tourist board and local authorities.

At this time, the city authorities are deliberating on the parameters of the CBD zone where water is guaranteed to flow throughout the summer. Belmond Mount Nelson is presently on the boundary edge. Any residential homes or businesses operating within this zone, once finalised, will continue to have water supplied as usual. However, as an added precaution, we have made additional and comprehensive contingency plans, and it may be helpful for you to be aware of the following:

  • The hotel places a letter in each guest room alerting them to the fact that the Cape is experiencing a severe drought. In the letter, guests are requested to take the situation into consideration when using water, for example not to leave taps running unnecessarily and to take a two-minute shower instead of a bath.
  • We have removed all bath plugs from the guest rooms and they are available on request only.
  • We have aerated all the bathroom taps, showers and toilets in the hotel.
  • We have placed several “water saving” notices in the bathrooms of each guest room, as well as in all the hotel’s public restrooms.
  • We have placed bottles of hand sanitisers in all our public restrooms which can be used to wash hands instead of tap water. We have also placed disposable towels in the public restrooms for guests to dry their hands, rather than using cloths which need to be laundered.
  • We wash guests’ linen every third day, unless specifically requested not to do so.
  • We are making guests and booking agents aware of the water crisis in our reservations letters. When guests are roomed, they are informed of the water situation by our reception staff.
  • We are fortunate enough to have a Table Mountain spring pass through our property on its way into the sea and we can use this non-potable water for our laundry. This we have been doing for over one hundred years. We also use this spring water to top up the pool and to flush the toilets in the Oasis Wing and Main Building.
  • We have locked our 11 municipal taps in the gardens and instead we access the spring water taps which we use responsibly.
  • We have switched off the steam rooms at Librisa Spa.
  • We do not wash our vehicles.
  • In the kitchen, the water from the ice machines as well as the water from used ice buckets is used to water the gardens.
  • Washing up basins are only filled up half way, and fresh produce is rinsed in bowls rather than under a running tap.
  • Our staff are fully aware of the crisis – they have been informed at staff meetings and notices have been placed in the staff canteen, changerooms and the staff entrance.
  • Staff showers are being fitted with a two-minute showering time device.

We look forward to continuing to welcome guests at Belmond Mount Nelson. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and our guests for such valuable support at this important time.

Updated February 2018.