Welcome to Cape Town! The water’s… scarce…

With peak season upon us, talk in the Mother City has picked up regarding how the influx of foreign and domestic visitors will impact on Cape Towns’ already stressed water supply. Is this being communicated to the thousands arriving for their indulgent, seaside holiday? Who is doing it and how?

Although reports are inconsistent regarding in-flight announcements about the water crisis in Cape Town, at least some airlines do seem to be including news of this reality in their in-flight communication prior to landing. I don’t know about you though, but with my blocked ears, getting myself organised to disembark, and jockeying for position to join the exit queue (not to mention the sound quality on some of those systems…), I can understand if people might miss this.

Upon entering the arrivals hall, however, the “Don’t Waste a Drop” signs are erected on each an every baggage carousel. And if you managed to hold it and forego the airplane loo cubicle in favour of a more spacious arrivals hall ablution facility, you would have to be in a complete fog to miss the signage up everywhere. They have even adopted the shared flushing language of “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” From there, you walk along the hall towards your anxiously awaiting, open-armed family or hotel transfer with an entire wall plastered in water crisis messaging.

water messaging for touristsOk, but maybe identifying all of your bags, keeping the kids somewhat under control, and figuring out how to get out there and start your dream vacation was a bit distracting and you didn’t see these. Thankfully, there’s still a chance for you; many of the main routes entering the City have water crisis signage erected too! I suppose that if you’re not driving, or even if you are the driver but are focused on road signs so as to not get lost, this might not have caught your eye either…

So now you’ve arrived at your hotel / guesthouse. Surely now is your chance to have it clearly impressed upon you that the City is in the midst of a serious water shortage. Below are examples of how many businesses are communicating exactly that; from when visitors walk through the door, to signage in public loos, to notices in guest rooms and conference venues.

In terms of more general awareness raising, the City has launched a #SaveLikeALocal campaign, with tips about how visitors too can limit their use to just 87 litres per day.

water messaging for tourists

water messaging for touristsAdmittedly, it’s not always easy to know when you’re nearing that 87-litre limitation, so the City of Cape Town has also developed an online calculator for people to see just how much water their daily activities really consume. What a great tool to put as the home page on the computers that you make available for guests to use!

Click here to access the online calculator. There is also an offline version that can be downloaded here.

Water-saving messaging resources

If the ideas above weren’t inspiration enough for you to develop much-needed communication tools about the water crisis, we’ll continue to post more on the Responsible Tourism Cape Town Facebook page and Twitter feeds as we learn of them.

If you don’t feel creative and you need resources to support your business’ water crisis communication actions, you can also try any of these:

City of Cape Town: click here for a range of tools, including printable resources, the offline water calculator, and other publications including posters about “How far can 87 litres go?”, the water crisis, and fixing leaks.

water messaging for tourists

WESGRO and the City of Cape Town developed a poster of “5 Water Saving Tips for Guests”, which can be downloaded here.

water Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism “Please Save Water” posters (shown at right) can be obtained in various formats. Please contact the Department directly. https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/edat

Good luck and remember, we’re in this together!