WILDERNESS SAFARIS, Botswana, April 2020/ — Since introducing its innovative waste reduction campaign in 2012, Wilderness Safaris has reduced its plastic water bottle consumption by 86%. Determined to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles in its camps, the company continues to implement a number of proactive measures in order to realise this goal. While Wilderness Safaris’ core purpose remains rooted in biodiversity conservation, it is just as committed to minimising any negative impacts its operation may have on the environment.
“Even though we have significantly reduced our water bottle usage to date – an achievement of which we are very proud – the fight continues to ensure that our use of water is as sustainable as it can possibly be in all our areas of operation. Water conservation is a critical part of our Environmental Management Systems across the Group, and we are committed to protecting the fresh water systems that we operate in, while not compromising the quality of water provided to our guests, as well as our staff”, notes Warren Ozorio, Wilderness Safaris Group Environmental Coordinator.
To continue pioneering water conservation throughout its operations, Wilderness Safaris’ Group Sustainability Fund invested in the procurement of new Natura water filters for eight of its Namibian and Zambian camps. Already a feature in all of its camps in Botswana, the Natura filters are able to produce both chilled and sparkling water on tap, which can then be utilised by guests in Wilderness Safaris’ reusable water bottles. This will help the company further reduce its use of single-use plastics and overall footprint. Having gone through a Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration process, this water is of the same quality as regular bottled water.
With the process of manufacturing one PET plastic bottle requiring as much as three litres of water, the new filters will not just help save one of the world’s most scarce resources, but also decrease Wilderness Safaris’ usage of plastic water bottles by up to 70 000 per annum. The waste water produced from the RO plant is also recirculated to the laundry, or used to wash game drive vehicles.
Additionally, Wilderness Safaris recently joined forces with Flo2Go in the Zambezi region, in order to eliminate the plastic bottles used on the company’s Victoria Falls tours and during the transfer of guests. Flo2Go collects empty reusable glass bottles and returns them filled with purified water on a daily basis. Depending on the day, this can be anywhere from 60 to 500 water bottles. From October 2019 to January 2020, Wilderness Safaris Zambezi used some 14 758 glass water bottles, once again an immense saving on waste and water. The Cape Town touring operation has also procured a Natura filter, in addition to a state-of-the-art bottle sanitiser, which the company expects will decrease bottled water usage even more.
To ensure that it has the latest information on water conservation efforts, in 2016 the company pioneered a research study in collaboration with other industry stakeholders, establishing a water-usage benchmark for the safari industry. The findings have been helping the company make more informed decisions concerning water conservation. Today Wilderness Safaris continues to carefully monitor water usage in its camps, timeously implementing a number of reduction measures in the process. In both guest and staff areas, the company utilises water-efficient shower heads, taps and aerators in its camps. It also maintains strict monitoring of water usage in all areas of operation, through daily recordings and monthly figures that are sent to a central resource for analysis.
“With most of our camps located in extremely remote, pristine wilderness areas, it has been crucial for us to use water sustainably. From placing buckets under showers to collect the first cold water that comes out, to harvesting as much as 200 000 litres of rainwater in tanks to supply Bisate Lodge, in Rwanda – we understand that all efforts, big and small, contribute to the ultimate sustainability of our planet, and we will continue to work diligently to ensure that we are playing our part”, concludes Warren.
For more details on Wilderness Safaris’ water conservation efforts, click here.