Chapter 21: Water management in the wildlife lodge industry:
A southern African perspective
Jacobus Grobler and Kevin Mearns
University of South Africa, Department of Environmental Sciences
Private Bag X6, Florida 1710, South Africa
The tourism industry across the world requires water for basic human consumption, irrigation
of gardens and golf courses, preparation of food and drinks, making snow for winter sports
and general water activities such as swimming or motorised water sports (Gössling et al.
2012). Tourism and more specifically wildlife tourism is a major source of income and
livelihood for many rural communities across southern Africa. Many wildlife tourism lodges
across southern Africa are in remote locations where little or no infrastructure exists. These
lodges are dependent on natural water sources such as rivers, dams and boreholes to provide
their water needs. The staff employed at these wildlife lodges often reside on the properties and
as a result of the lack of nearby housing, roads and public transportation must be
accommodated by the tourism ventures. Lodges as a result make allowance not only for the
tourism venture operations but for the domestic water use of staff members. Lodge managers
must make sure that enough water is available at an acceptable water quality to meet these
needs of both guests and staff. This paper investigated water quantity use at 31 wildlife lodges
across southern Africa ; this paper also provided water quantity use baselines and proposes
water use benchmarks for the wildlife lodge industry in southern Africa.
Keywords: Tourism, water quantity use, water quantity baselines and benchmarks
Introduction and literature review
The tourism industry across the world requires water for basic human consumption, landscape
irrigation, preparation of food and beverages and for a number of water sport activities
(Gössling et al. 2012). As a result of the importance of this critical resource for tourism, it is
of critical importance that tourism ventures improve their water management and reduce their
consumption of water. The wildlife lodge industry in southern Africa is no different and
depends on water for its very existence. Owing to their rural location many wildlife lodges are
dependent on natural water sources to supply their water use demands. The rural location of
these wildlife lodges also results in the consequence that staff that are employed at these lodges
have to reside on these premises of the lodge as little or no transport and housing infrastructure
exists elsewhere near the lodges. The accommodated staff add to the strain on water resources,
especially in water-scarce areas such as the Namib and Kalahari deserts. Managers therefore
need to ensure that sufficient water at an acceptable quality is available for both guests and
Water management in the wildlife lodge industry is a very important management
aspect that should be carefully managed. Water management in the wildlife lodge industry
involves all the processes and procedures from the abstraction point to discharging back into
the environment. This paper specifically investigates the volumes of water that are used by
wildlife tourism lodges across three southern African countries, namely Namibia, Botswana
and South Africa. Tourism activities contribute to water consumption and can be partially
responsible for depleting water sources. It is thus of the utmost importance that tourism
ventures apply sustainable water utilisation and preserve good quality freshwater as the well-
being of staff and guests depend on the availability of good quality freshwater. Since the
wildlife lodge industry depend on wildlife and ecosystems for their existence, it is important
that water courses and their quantity are managed to prevent them from losing their tourist
In some areas, tourism may compete for water directly with local communities for
domestic use or with local farmers for agricultural use. In Fiji and Sri Lanka tourism water
usage is 8.5 times more per person per night than that of the local community (Becken, 2014).
In Zanzibar, Tanzania, the average use per capita of freshwater for tourists is 15 times higher
than local residents (Gössling, 2001). Such imbalances could lead to water conflict situations,
and tourism ventures must integrate their needs with local communities to obtain the best
outcomes for businesses, tourists, communities and the environment (Becken, 2014). Many
lodges share their water source with local communities and depleting or degrading these
resources could cause conflict with local communities which are also dependent on the same
Gössling et al. (2015) and Mearns and Grobler (2016) stipulated the importance of
baselines and benchmarks to improve water use management and to assist tourism ventures to
use water sustainably. International guidelines and benchmarks of sustainable water use and
consumption quantities cannot be applied to the wildlife lodge industry due to difference in
nature of the tourism sector and the fact that staff reside on the properties at wildlife lodges in
southern Africa, while international benchmarks take cognisance only of guest water use while
staff members in the international benchmarks return home daily (Baker & Mearns, 2015;
Mearns & Grobler, 2016; Baker & Mearns 2017). Therefore, the researchers found it necessary
to investigate water quantity consumption in the wildlife lodge industry in South Africa,
Namibia and Botswana. This study could assist in providing some baselines of water
consumption and assist in developing locally relevant and realistic water use benchmarks for
the southern African wildlife lodge industry. Two of the major organisations in the wildlife
lodge industry in South Africa were approached for this study, namely andBeyond and
Wilderness Safaris. Both organisations have lodges in the three selected countries in this study
and agreed to the study. An overview of the two companies follows.
andBeyond was established in 1991 (itw as then called Conservation Corporation Africa or CC
Africa) due to the rising international demand for ecotourism and wildlife experiences. The
organisation is a progression of the model originally established over 30 years ago at Londolozi
Private Game Reserve. This model demonstrated that, by harnessing international financial
capital through low-impact, high-yield tourism, conservation land could prove its economic
viability whilst affording rural communities a meaningful share of the benefits. The spirit and
effectiveness of this model led to the company’s core ethic of “Care of the Land, Care of the
Wildlife, Care of the People” (andBeyond, 2018). andBeyond began in the early 1990s at
Phinda Private Nature Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. With its vast involvement in
the local community, andBeyond established the Rural Investment Fund, now known as the
Africa Foundation. The Africa Foundation focuses on rural development around andBeyond
lodges and reserves, and facilitates international financial support for responsible, consultative
community projects in rural Africa (andBeyond, 2018). Since 1995 andBeyond continued to
expand its portfolio of superior safari lodges and moved into Kenya, Zimbabwe and Tanzania,
and later Botswana and Namibia. In February 2000, andBeyond merged with two other travel
outfits (Afro Ventures and Into Africa) to form one of Africa’s most comprehensive tourism
companies, combining the strength of its lodge portfolio with a large tour operating division,
destination management, group travel and mobile safari specialist operation. andBeyond now
offers personalised, luxury tours in 12 African countries (andBeyond, 2018). In 2006
andBeyond extended into India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal. This expansion resulted in the
name change, in 2008, from CC Africa to andBeyond to reflect the company’s extended
footprint beyond Africa. South America was added to the portfolio in 2015, adding Chile,
Argentina, Peru and Ecuador to andBeyond’s experiential travel offering (andBeyond, 2018).
Wilderness Safaris was founded in Botswana in 1983. It started off as a mobile tented safari
that hosted tourists in and around the Okavango Delta. Today Wilderness Safaris offers private
access to 2.5 million hectares of Africa’s finest wildlife and wilderness areas. The company
owns and manages 40 luxury camps in Africa and offers safaris across eight African countries:
Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe
(Wilderness Safaris, 2017). Like andBeyond, Wilderness Safaris designed their vision based
on what the company call the 4C’s: Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture.
Commerce deals with the ecotourism offerings and products and is regarded by the organisation
as the most critical element to sustainability in the modern world. It also focuses on creating
life-changing experiences for clients and guests, while working closely with local governments,
community shareholders and stakeholders to ensure a sustainable business. The conservation
vision aims to maximise positive impacts of their operations on biodiversity and to minimise
negative impacts. This is divided into two sections. Environmental Management Systems
(EMS) deal with how the organisation build and manage their camps in the eco-friendliest way
possible. The biodiversity conservation element covers the understanding, management and
protection of wildlife and ecosystems. The Community vision includes staff, partners in the
travel industry, guests and communities in or adjacent to operation areas. The organisation
believes in honest, mutually beneficial and dignified relationships with their community
partners. Culture aims to promote the unique Wilderness culture across the globe to respect and
care for the environment. Other initiatives include the Wilderness Wildlife trust and the
Children in Wilderness programme (Wilderness Safaris, 2017). Apart from their primary aim
of sharing Africa’s wonderful places with guests, the organisation states that their ultimate goal
is to make a difference in Africa, to its people and its wildlife (Wilderness Safaris, 2017).
Water quantity management
Water consumption can be measured by concentrating on water throughput (Styles et al. 2015).
This method focused on the total volume consumed divided by the number of guest nights at a
hotel or resort. This calculation would state the volume, usually in litres, per person per night
or litre per guest-night. These measurements are the standard today; however Gössling et al.
(2015) stated that water consumption is much more sophisticated when considering all the
water that is required to sustain the tourism system. Gössling et al. (2015) differentiated water
into three major components: direct water use, indirect water use and systematic water use.
Direct water use is water that is directly consumed by the hotel, resort or lodge. This
will include all water that is consumed by rooms (toilets, taps and showers), irrigation
(gardens, golf courses and lawns), laundry and cleaning, wash bays, kitchens (guest and
staff), swimming pools (initial filling, filter backwash, evaporation) and staff quarters.
Indirect water use is water that is consumed to provide services to the establishments.
This would include water used in the construction phase of the hotel, resort or lodge,
energy production, fuel production and food and beverage production.
Systematic water use is all water consumed coupled with activities, shopping and
services in transit to or in the destination. This will often entail other infrastructure such
as railways, roads, airports and harbours, all of which involve water use. Water use
embodied in these properties has not yet been studied.
In this study the authors focus on the direct water use at the lodges in the wildlife industry and
present the results as per the standard, namely, litre per guest-night. When direct water use is
calculated, it is important that measuring and data collection is done frequently and accurately.
Water flow meters and equipment must be in proper working order and the data must be
recorded as accurately as possible. Another important aspect is that the flow meters are installed
at the correct locations in the system. When water is measured before water is stored and
dispensed, it can impact on the data and can result in unreliable results. When other equipment
such as flow switches or automated systems are faulty, it can lead to storage units overflowing,
making results inaccurate. It is therefore important to ensure that all meters and equipment are
in good working order and that water meters are installed in the correct locations.
Developing baselines and benchmarks
A baseline assessment is the collecting and processing of data to establish a baseline result.
The purpose of establishing baselines is to provide a starting point from which future
measurements and predictions can be calculated. It can aid in forecasting water use based on
the number of expected arrivals and can aid managers in better water use forecasting and
management. Baseline assessments are not standardised, and many different formats can be
used in different situations. With regard to water quantity in the tourism sector, the baseline
water consumption would be the volume that is consumed per guest per day or per room per
day. The baseline can be exclusive to a specific destination, region, province, country, industry
or market segment. Table 21.1 states baselines for specific countries and regions from previous
Table 21.1: Baseline water consumption for tourism ventures by country
Country Accommodation type Water use per guest per night
Mediterranean Mostly hotels 250 L
Mediterranean Campsites 145 L
Mediterranean All accommodation 440 – 880 L
Benidorm, Spain Campsites 84 L
Benidorm, Spain 1 Star hotel 174 L
Benidorm, Spain 2 Star hotel 194 L
Benidorm, Spain 3 Star hotel 287 L
Benidorm, Spain 4 Star hotel 361 L
Greece 5 Star hotel 675 L
Greece 4 Star hotel 234 L
Tunisia Hotels 466 L
Morocco Apartments 180 L
Morocco 3 Star or villa 300 L
Morocco 4 Star hotel 400 L
Morocco 5 Star hotel 500 L
Morocco Luxury 5 Star hotel 600 L
Sarigerme, Turkey 4 Star hotel 400 – 1000+ L
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt Hotels < 500 L (per bed)
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 5 Star hotels 1410 – 2190 L (per room)
Zanzibar, Tanzania Guesthouses 248 L
Zanzibar, Tanzania Hotels 931 L
Zanzibar, Tanzania Hotels and guesthouse
Jamaica Unspecified 527 – 1596 L
Jamaica Average 980 L
Thailand 913 – 3423 L (per room)
Philippines 4 Star hotel 1802 L (per room)
Hong Kong Hotels 336 – 3198 L (per room)
Australia Hotels 750 L (per room)
Australia Large hotels 300 L (per room)
Melbourne, Australia Various 227 – 435 L
USA Unspecified 382 – 787 L (per room)
Las Vegas, USA Hotels / resorts 303 L
Seattle, USA Hotels 378 – 1514 L (per room)
Germany Unspecified 90 – 900 L
Germany Average 340 L
Scandinavia Hilton chain 516 L
Scandinavia Scandic chain 216 L
Coastal Normandy, France Campsite 92 L
Coastal Normandy, France Hotel restaurant 259 L
Coastal Normandy, France Hotel 175 L
Coastal Normandy, France Other 115 L
(Gössling et al. 2015)
Benchmarking is a comparative management tool that is widely used all over the world. The
aim of benchmarking is for continuous improvement in performance and best practice of an
organisation. The process involves measuring one’s own performance and evaluating it against
the best in its class or similar organisations (Saagi et al. 2017). The four main types of
Internal benchmarking is a comparison of a business process to a similar process
inside the organisation, for example a company such as Wilderness Safaris comparing
water use of one of their lodges to another. This method is fairly cost efficient and
access to information is easily obtainable. It can however be influenced by internal bias
and may not yield the best in class comparison (Córcoles et al. 2010).
Competitive benchmarking is the comparison of a product, service, process, or
method against direct competitors, for example Wilderness Safaris comparing their
performance against andBeyond’s. Competitors may have similar regulatory issues and
competitive benchmarking could lead to possible partnerships. Some disadvantages of
this method are that competitors might provide misleading information, exploiting your
weaknesses and this could lead to minimum performance improvement (Córcoles et al.
Functional benchmarking is a comparison to similar or identical practices within the
same or similar functions outside the immediate industry, for example andBeyond
comparing their wastewater works with industrial wastewater works. Although this can
result in a better improvement rate, it is more time-consuming and involves adaptation
of best practices (Córcoles et al. 2010).
Generic benchmarking broadly conceptualises unrelated business processes or
functions that can be practised in the same or similar ways regardless of the industry.
Some advantages of this method include that it is non-competitive, innovative and
examines multiple industries; however, it can be difficult to identify the best in its class
and can be very time-consuming (Córcoles et al. 2010).
As mentioned earlier, baseline assessments can be used as benchmarks. By having a multiple
set of baselines, the best in a class can be set as the benchmark for the others. In this study the
authors will make use of competitive benchmarks, comparing the baselines from two wildlife
lodge industry operators, Wilderness Safaris and andBeyond. Another way of laying down a
benchmark is to determine the average of multiple baselines and aim for a target improvement,
in this case a 20% reduction on the average. In this study the authors will only produce one
benchmark, which will be the best-in-class benchmark. The target-based benchmark was not
used in this study as the authors could not establish an achievable and reasonable percentage
reduction from the two companies concerned at this early stage in the research.
The purpose of monitoring a water management system is to identify gaps in the system
and strive for continuous improvement. The most common form of monitoring a management
system is by conducting audits (Gössling et al. 2015). Audits are carried out against a pre-
determined set of criteria which will indicate whether the management system complies with
company, legal or other statutory requirements. Audit results will indicate if the desired
objectives have been met or not and will indicate areas which require attention and
improvement. The baselines and benchmarks forthcoming from this research will provide
guidance against which the auditing of used water quantities can be compared.
Research design and methodology
The authors partnered with two of the leading wildlife lodge industry operators in southern
Africa, andBeyond and Wilderness Safaris, for this study. Across South Africa, Namibia and
Botswana, 31 lodges were selected to participate in this study. The locations and geography
from the lodges differed vastly, from desert to permanent swampland. The multiple case study
used an empirical design and consisted of a quantitative secondary data analysis. The secondary
data was obtained from the two research partners during the specified 24-month period from
March 2015 to February 2017. All the lodge names have been changed to codes to ensure
anonymity as per agreement with the research partners. The first letter in the code refers to the
country in which the lodge is situated, whereas the number at the end was the number that the
researchers allocated to a specific lodge for identification, for example B3 will mean the third
of the lodges whose data was analysed by the authors in Botswana. The majority of the lodges
had complete records of water consumption for the 24-month period. Missing data was
excluded from the analysis and conclusions. The authors also visited 12 lodges to verify that
the information provided by the company representatives was accurate and reliably collected.
Discussion of results and analysis
The authors presented, discussed and analysed the water quantity results from the data
obtained. The water consumption baseline will refer to the average of the lodges analysed as
specified. The benchmark that the authors had used was the “best in class” method and will be
the lowest water consumption per capita for the lodges as specified. The authors first present
the results for all three countries combined before separating the countries.
The authors used the international standard of litre per guest per night (l/g/n) as well as
the recommendations made by Mearns and Grobler (2016) to include staff. The guest and staff
usage is presented as litre per bed per night (l/b/n). The international standard should not be
applicable for the wildlife lodge industry in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana due to the
major role staff play in water consumption, as well as the difference in characteristics of the
specific tourism sector, especially with regard to staff living on the premises.
The average water consumption from all three countries, both in l/g/n and l/b/n, was
used to create a general baseline for the wildlife lodge industry in South Africa, Namibia and
Botswana. The authors then calculated the averages for each country individually and used the
country’s average, both in l/g/n and l/b/n, as the baseline for the specific country. The authors
used the best-in-class method to provide a benchmark for each country as well as all three
countries together. The lodge that had the least water consumption per capita, considering both
l/g/n and l/b/n, was used as the best-in-class benchmark for the specified country. The final
baselines and benchmarks were then stated as per the international standard of litre per guest
per night (l/g/n) as well as the inclusion of staff of litre per bed per night (l/b/n).
Figure 21.1 indicates the l/g/n per lodge in all three countries. The water quantity
records for the two years under investigation were used and the total water consumption for
the 24 months was divided by the total number of guest nights over the same period to provide
a two-year average at each lodge. Lodges with blue values represent lodges from Botswana.
Lodges with green values represent lodges from South Africa, whereas lodges with a yellow
value represent lodges from Namibia.
Figure 21.1: Average litre per guest night for all the lodges included in the study within
South Africa, Namibia and Botswana
The average consumption across the three countries was 2073 l/g/n. According to Table 21.1
the average consumption for 5-star hotels in Greece and Morocco is 675 l/g/n and 500 l/g/n
respectively. The average consumption for all types of accommodation in the Mediterranean
Litre per guest per night
Best in class
range between 440 – 880 l/g/n, while the average consumption for hotels in Zanzibar is 931
l/g/n. The results indicate that the average consumption across South Africa, Namibia and
Botswana is in some instances three to four times more than other countries across the globe.
Table 21.1 states that countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong use up 3 198
litre per room. The average for South Africa, Namibia and Botswana is the highest of all the
countries for which baselines are available.
Nine of the 10 highest water consuming lodges were in Botswana. The three lowest
water consuming lodges were all located in Namibia. The highest usage from all the lodges
was lodge B13 with 4567 l/g/n. The lowest water consumption was at lodge N7 with only 485
l/g/n, which also was the best in class from the lodges presented in Figure 21.1. Figure 21.2
illustrates the water consumption per capita when staff nights were included. The results were
presented as l/b/n.
Figure 21.2: Average litre per bed night from all the lodges
Figure 21.2 indicates that the average water consumption per capita was 503 l/b/n when staff
were included in the calculations. According to Table 21.1 this baseline is similar to hotels
across the globe. This means that when staff consumption is included in total consumption, the
water usage is not as outrageously high as is suggested above when only guest consumption is
used. These averages compare favourably to 5-star hotels in Greece and Morocco and are less
than hotels in Zanzibar, Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Three of the top five water consumers came from lodges located in South Africa. Six
of the 10 highest water consumers came from lodges in Botswana. The two lodges with the
lowest water consumption were both lodges situated in Namibia. The highest water usage was
lodge S2 with 1048 l/b/n. The lowest water consumption per capita was lodge N4 with only
188 l/b/n, which was the best in class from all the lodges. The average consumption from all
31 lodges across all three countries was 503 l/b/n. Figure 21.3 illustrates the results from the
eight lodges in South Africa with regard to the international standard of l/g/n.
Litre per bed per night
Figure 21.3: Average litre per guest per night from the eight lodges in South Africa
Figure 21.3 indicates the same scenario as previously mentioned when only guest consumption
is considered. The average of 1 562 l/g/n in South Africa is well above the majority of hotels
listed in Table 21.1. The results indicate that the lodge with the highest water consumption per
capita was lodge S4 with 2063 l/g/n. The lodge with the lowest water consumption per capita
was lodge S6 with 1144 l/g/n, also the best in class from all the lodges in South Africa. Figure
21.4 illustrates the results when staff were included in the calculations for South Africa.
Figure 21.4: Average litre per bed night from the eight lodges in South Africa
Figure 21.4 illustrates the average water consumption per capita in South Africa, of 560 l/b/n,
when staff is included in the calculations. This compares well to hotels and tourism
establishments across the globe. The results indicate that the lodge with the highest water
consumption per capita was lodge S2 with 1048 l/b/n. The lodge with the lowest water
consumption per capita was lodge S5 with 220 l/b/n, also the best in class from all the lodges
S4 S3 S1 S5 S7 S2 S8 S6
Litre per guest per night
Best in class
S2 S4 S1 S7 S3 S8 S6 S5
Litre per bed per night
Best in class
in South Africa. The main reason the consumption at lodge S2 is considerably higher than the
rest of the lodges in South Africa, is because only a small percentage of the staff reside on the
property. Staff commuting from the local community to the lodge consume water during their
work shift, but because they are not staying on the property their consumption is not calculated
into the bed nights. Figure 21.5 illustrates the water consumption from the eight lodges in
Namibia with regard to international standard l/g/n.
Figure 21.5: Average litre per guest per night from the eight lodges in Namibia
Figure 21.5 illustrates similar findings : when only guest consumption is considered the
average water consumption per capita in Namibia of 1 337 l/g/n is well above the baselines
from hotels in other countries across the globe. The lodge with the highest water consumption
per capita was lodge N5 with 2450 l/g/n. The lodge with the lowest water consumption per
capita was lodge N7 with 485 l/g/n, also the best in class from all the lodges in Namibia. Figure
21.6 illustrates the results when staff were included in the data analysis.
N5 N8 N6 N2 N1 N3 N4 N7
Litre per guest per night
Figure21.6: Average litre per bed night from the eight lodges in Namibia
Figure 21.6 illustrates that the average water consumption per capita in Namibia of 386 l/b/n
also compares well to hotels and tourism establishments across the globe when staff is included
in the calculations. The lodge with the highest water consumption per capita was lodge N8
with 620 l/b/n. The lodge with the lowest water consumption per capita was lodge N4 with
188 l/b/n, also the best in class from all the lodges in Namibia. Figure 21.7 illustrates the water
consumption from the 15 lodges in Botswana with regard to the international standard of l/g/n.
Figure 21.7: Average litre per guest night from the 15 lodges in Botswana
N8 N5 N6 N2 N1 N3 N7 N4
Litre per bed per night
Best in class
B13 B7 B15 B4 B10 B11 B9 B12 B14 B6 B5 B3 B1 B2 B8
Litre per guest per night
Best in class
Figure 21.7 illustrates the exact same result as the previous results shown above. When only
guest consumption is considered, the average water consumption per capita in Botswana of 2
739 l/g/n is well above the baselines from hotels in other countries across the globe. The results
indicate that the lodge with the highest water consumption per capita was lodge B13 with 4567
l/g/n. The lodge with the lowest water consumption per capita was lodge B8 with 1055 l/g/n,
also the best in class from all the lodges in Botswana. The average water consumption for
lodges located in Botswana was 2739 l/g/n.
Figure 21.8 illustrates that the average water consumption per capita in Botswana of
534 l/b/n also compares similarly to hotels and tourism establishments across the globe when
staff is included in the calculations. The results indicate that the lodge with the highest water
consumption per capita was lodge B13 with 923 l/b/n. The lodge with the lowest water
consumption per capita was lodge B2 with 225 l/b/n, also the best in class from all the lodges
in Botswana. The average water consumption with the inclusion of staff for all the lodges
located in Botswana was 534 l/b/n.
Figure 21.8: Average litre per bed night from the 15 lodges in Botswana
The results clearly indicate that if only guest consumption is considered, the averages in all the
calculations were outrageously high compared to countries such as Greece, Morocco, Zanzibar,
Germany and the USA. When staff nights were included, the average water consumption is
comparable to most other countries around the world. The results indicate that the lodge with
the highest consumption in Botswana, when only guests were considered, was more than
double than the lodge with the highest consumption in South Africa and more than 2000 l/g/n
more than the lodge with the highest consumption in Namibia. The lodges with the lowest
consumption, when only guests were considered, were very similar in South Africa and
Botswana, but more than double the lodge with the lowest consumption in Namibia. The
average consumption in South Africa and Namibia, when only guests were considered, were
similar, with averages of 1562 l/g/n and 1337 l/g/n irrespectively, with the lodges in Botswana
averaging more than double the lodges in Namibia with an average of 2739 l/g/n.
The results indicate that the lodge with the highest consumption in South Africa, when
guests and staff were considered, was similar to the lodge with the highest consumption in
Botswana. The Namibian lodge with the highest consumption was 300 l/b/n less than the lodge
with the highest consumption in Botswana. The lodges with the lowest consumption, when
guests and staff were considered, were very similar in all three countries, ranging from 188
B13 B4 B15 B11 B12 B14 B9 B10 B6 B7 B1 B5 B3 B8 B2
Litre per bed per night
l/b/n to 225 l/g/n. The average consumption in South Africa and Botswana, when only guests
were considered, was similar, with averages of 560 l/b/n and 534 l/b/n respectively. The lodges
in Namibia had the lowest average of all three countries, averaging only 386 l/b/n.
Table 21.2: Water consumption summary
Highest consumption, guests only
4567 2063 2450 4567
Lowest consumption, guests only
485 1144 485 1055
Average, guests only (l/g/n) 2073 1562 1337 2739
Highest consumption, guests and staff
1048 1048 620 923
Lowest consumption, guests and staff
188 220 188 225
Average, guests and staff (l/b/n) 503 560 386 534
The table indicates that lodges in Botswana use 1402 l/g/n more than Namibia and 1177 l/g/n
more than South Africa. Namibia uses 225 l/g/n less than South Africa. It is clear that water
consumption in Botswana is significantly higher per capita than in South Africa and Namibia.
Resultant baselines and benchmarks
The baseline water consumption for all three countries as a whole was 2073 l/g/n or 503 l/b/n.
Botswana had the highest per capita average when only guest consumption was considered
with an average of 2739 l/g/n against the 1562 l/g/n of South Africa and the 1337 l/g/n in
Namibia. South Africa had the highest average when both staff and guest nights were
considered, with an average of 560 l/b/n against the 534 l/b/n of Botswana and the 386 l/b/n of
The best in class method was used as the benchmark, which was 485 l/g/n or 188 l/b/n.
The water consumption baseline in South Africa was 1562 l/g/n or 560 l/b/n. The benchmark
of the best in class was 1144 l/g/n or 220 l/b/n. In Namibia the baseline water consumption was
1337 l/g/n or 386 l/b/n. The best in class benchmark was 485 l/g/n or 188 l/b/n. In Botswana
the water consumption baseline was 2739 l/g/n or 534 l/b/n. The best in class benchmark was
1055 l/g/n or 225 l/b/n.
The results indicated that the average water consumption across all three countries was
very high compared to other countries when the l/g/n were used for comparisons; however,
when the staff nights were included in the consumption figures, the average l/b/n were very
similar to countries such as Greece, USA, Germany, Morocco and many other. The average
water consumption from the lodges in Namibia, both in l/g/n and l/b/n, was the lowest from all
three countries, whereas the average water consumption in Botswana was highest of the three
The wildlife lodge industry is dependent on water for its existence as it serves both its staff and
its guests. Staff and guest are encouraged to use water sparingly ; however, the success of the
current measures has not been evaluated in this study and requires investigation. Both wildlife
lodge companies involved in this study monitor their current systems and are constantly
seeking cost effective ways to improve their performance. However, since the cost of water is
minimal, it is hard to earn a return on investment by investing in water saving measures and
technologies. Both organisations review their environmental management systems periodically
and are continuously looking to improve their environmental performance and water
Since this was the first study to investigate water quantity management in the wildlife
lodge industry in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, the results and analysis of this study
will provide lodges and organisations with valuable information with regard to water quantity
use and management in the industry and will aid organisations in their goals of sustainable
tourism development. The baselines and benchmarks will also assist in the planning of new
developments as they provide information which can help developers to plan their new tourism
developments on the quantity of water that can be sustainably sourced from the available water
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