04.18.13Alan Harris

Water Conservation: Corporate Theory Meets Reality

Water Conservation Reality - Missing TowelThe picture on the left was attempting good water conservation practice, but housekeeping decided to take the towel as evidenced by the picture on the right.

Many organizations “try” to be good environmental stewards when it comes to water conservation. A co-worker likes the saying, “There is no trying. There is only doing.” So what happens when the corporate theory meets the reality of the front line worker?

As I write this post I am on my second of three trips for the month. Almost every hotel where I stay provides the guest with an option to use a bath towel more than once or to have it replaced. The hotel where I am currently staying has a placard in the bathroom that reads:

reuse or


to reuse: hang towels up

to replace: place towels on floor

take care 

we owe it to one another®

Most of my trips range from two to four nights and I usually hang up my towel to be used again. I choose this option, because it A) is a good water conservation practice and B) is what I practice at home. Unfortunately, when the corporate water conservation theory meets the reality of the housekeeping staff, the towel is usually gone when I return to the room at the end of the day.

Last week I was on a four night trip which meant housekeeping had three opportunities to leave the towel hanging to be used again. It was left hanging only one out of three times!

This week I am on another four night trip and I decided to be socially proactive. The first morning I hung my towel and placed the placard on top of the towel so the placard would have to be removed to get to the towel. I then took it one step further and tweeted from @h2oMatters the following message:

@[hotel] I did my part to help you do your part. We will know tonight if we were successful. #WaterConservation photo

I was slightly encouraged when the corporate office replied with the simple message, “Thanks for sharing, Alan.” Unfortunately at the end of the day the towel was gone so I again tweeted:

@[hotel] And the answer is “No Towel” #WaterConservation #Fail Will try again tomorrow at Aguora Hills photo

We will see what water conservation reality my towel meets today.

Most major hotel brands have a good environmental/water conservation policy:

  • Hilton
  • Marriott
  • Starwood
  • Intercontinental

Take a few minutes to read the water conservation policy of your preferred brand and then the next time you travel, help their water conservation theory become water conservation reality. Twitter and Facebook are great ways to engage with brands or just let the front desk know when their water conservation theory needs a reality check.

Do you have a corporate water conservation story to share? Please leave your comments below or on our Facebook page, Water Bloggers.

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Alan Harris

Alan Harris is a water management pioneer. With roots in landscape architecture, Alan has worked with irrigation throughout his career experimenting with hydrozones and a variety of high efficiency irrigation systems. Now, over thirty years in the landscape industry, Alan continues to stay apprised of the latest technology even in a sales leadership capacity as our Director of Sales Operations and Regional Sales Leader for our landscape maintenance division. In addition to his contributions to this blog, Alan keeps his hand in water management as a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine.

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