The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) created the Water Conservation Hotel and Motel Program (Water CHAMP℠) to reduce high water use in the hospitality industry. Water CHAMP has more than 350 participants throughout the 16-county District. Participants receive an environmental self-audit checklist, printed materials for a towel and linen reuse program, staff training materials, and publicity through Water CHAMP’s website and other promotional efforts.

An audit was conducted to compare water consumption of 115 Water CHAMP participants before the program began in 2002 to that in 2007.

Some key findings of the audit were:

  • Survey participants realized an average savings of 17 gallons of water per occupied room per day.
  • Survey participants realized a total savings of 71,000 gallons of water a year.
  • The cost benefit for the project, using the total cost amortized over five years, is $0.47 per 1,000 gallons of water.
  • Savings result from a number of factors: implementing the towel and linen reuse program, applying the self-audit checklist, utilizing reclaimed water and wells, installing ultra low-flow toilets and attending educational workshops.
  • Because larger properties account for a greater number of rooms available, they offer a greater opportunity for water savings. Efforts should be concentrated on these properties first.

Based on the audit results and occupancy rates, it is projected that more than 149 million gallons of water were saved by participating properties in 2012.

Audit Process

In 2007 the District conducted a five-year water use audit. Billing and consumption data were collected from 16 utility companies (listed below) to determine the Districtwide water savings. The audit compared water consumption of 115 Water CHAMP participants before the program’s implementation in 2002 to that in 2007, and their continued participation in Water CHAMP was confirmed. The District occupancy rate increase of .83 percent from 2002 to 2007 was taken into consideration and total water use adjusted. Properties audited were categorized by the number of rooms to ensure an accurate comparison. Then the 2007 occupancy-adjusted water use was subtracted from the 2002 water use to calculate actual savings by property size.

Cooperators

The following utility companies cooperated in completing the audit by providing 2002 and 2007 billing and consumption amounts:
City of Tampa, City of Sarasota, Pinellas County Utilities, Pasco County Utilities, Homosassa Special Water District, City of Avon Park, City of New Port Richey, Manatee County Utilities, City of Venice, Sarasota County Utilities, Hernando County Utilities, City of Winter Haven, City of Englewood, Charlotte County Utilities, City of Inverness, Polk County Utilities

Outliers

Utility companies that could not provide 2002 and 2007 water billing and consumption amounts were unable to take part in the audit. In addition, properties were removed from the audit when factors affecting water use would have skewed audit results. These factors included leaks, meter issues, installation of new landscaping, and major renovations such as room or restaurant additions. Properties that had been concerned with possible leak issues were provided with toilet leak detector tabs and were advised to contact their local water utility company and/or an independent commercial water audit company.

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