March 2016 – Wilderness Safaris is proud to celebrate World Water Day on 22 March, held annually to focus on the importance of sustainable management of freshwater resources. In addition to many of its camps being located within World Heritage sites that protect these important water systems, Wilderness Safaris has made water conservation a priority for the business, successfully reducing its plastic bottled water consumption by approximately 70% since 2012.
“As Africa’s leading sustainable ecotourism operator, we are constantly looking at ways to increase our positive contribution towards the protection of Africa’s wilderness areas, and to mitigate any negative impact that our operations may have on the environment. Water conservation is therefore a critical part of our Environmental Management Systems across the Group, and we are committed to not only protecting the freshwater systems that we operate in, but to reducing our bottled water usage and adhering to the best waste-water management processes”, says Warren Ozorio, Wilderness Safaris Sustainability Manager.
Many of Wilderness Safaris’ camps are located within UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park and Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia. As water conservation is crucial to the ongoing protection of these pristine areas, Wilderness Safaris has taken a number of bold initiatives to save water, such as introducing new water-saving showerheads in all of its camps. In-room collateral also includes recommended guidelines on how to save water to educate guests about the need to conserve this precious resource.
In 2012, bottled water consumption for the Wilderness Group was extremely high, at 607 178 half-litre bottles per year. In order to drastically reduce this figure, the company installed water dispensers at the majority of its camps across southern Africa.
“Using a system of reverse osmosis, the dispensers provide an incredible alternative to plastic water bottles. We are delighted to report that since installing the dispensers, we have seen a reduction of 434 216 plastic bottles of water. We have also been able to save 3 515 342 litres of fresh water by filling up our own bottles, as opposed to the amount of water used in the production of plastic water bottles, as well as saving a staggering 37.4 tonnes of CO2; this equates to 21 one-way flights from Johannesburg to Heathrow!” Ozorio added.
The sophisticated waste-water treatment plant at Wilderness Safaris Toka Leya Camp in Zambia is another excellent example of the Group’s commitment to water conservation. The treatment plant uses aerobic technology to break down the camp’s grey water; it is then purified and pumped into a nearby wetland. Only once the water has been filtered, will it be returned to the environment.
The Wilderness Safaris sustainability team will continue to research and adopt new technologies as they become available, in order to conserve water in all the areas in which the company operates.
Wilderness Safaris helps to protect the precious water systems of the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls and Mana Pools