Sandals Resorts International continues to play a leading role in conservation and environmental matters in the Caribbean, so much so that the resort chain was recently recognised by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), for the strides it has made in conservation and repurposing of waste water.
As part of its efforts of observe World Water Day in March 2017, CARPHA produced a documentary focusing on companies and organisations that play a critical role in helping to conserve the planet’s limited fresh water supply, and singled out Sandals Resorts for its investment in plant and equipment to recycle waste water for re-use, ensuring that it does not find its way back into natural water systems without first being treated.
While water supports all life on earth, and is essential for the vital eco-systems on which we depend for our very survival, the Public Health Agency warned that fresh water is a limited resource which accounts for only a small fraction of the total volume of water which covers the planet.
According to CARPHA, “We use water daily in our homes, for agriculture and for industrial processing. This daily use produces waste water which is largely untreated before being deposited into our environment, with negative consequences on human health and the environment.”
However, CARPHA says with the right approach, such water can be reused with many benefits, and one organisation leading the way with this is Sandals Resorts International. One such facility can be found at the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa where all waste water generated on the property is treated before being repurposed for irrigating the grounds of the hotel.
The Chief Engineer at Sandals Antigua, Miquel Camps, explained that the waste water that goes down the drain is pumped into the water recycling plant where it goes through several stages. The sewerage is put into a clarifier where sludge is separated from what’s called supernatant or clear water, and that water is then stored and chlorinated. That water is then useful for other purposes.
The repurposed water is used entirely for irrigation at Sandals Grande Antigua, helping to keep the resort’s amazing array of trees, flowers and other shrubs fresh and green year round. It also means that valuable potable water is not being used for irrigating gardens.
Apart from the obvious the cost savings, the programme minimizes the environmental impact of Sandals operations and contributes to the preservation of the natural environment and human health.
Sandals Grande Antigua also engages in laundry water recycling. Every day the resort’s laundry room washes six thousand pounds of linen and uses tens of thousands of gallons of water to do so. The Aqua Recycle Plant treats used laundry water and recycles about 70 percent of it to be used again.
A third water saving mechanism utilised by Sandals Grande is its reverse osmosis plant, which converts salt water to potable water, therefore reducing the burden on the island’s limited water resources.
Preventative Maintenance is ongoing at all resorts to increase efficiencies and reduce overall cost for water consumption. The Conservation policy speaks to awareness, continuous training and ongoing monitoring to increase best practice.
CARPHA says the reuse of waste water is a key climate change adaptation strategy that helps make the country more climate change resilient. Having highly treated waste water available for use, particularly during times of drought and water scarcity is valuable for the wider agricultural community for use in irrigation. It is also a resource that can be used by the fire service and construction companies.
CARPHA is urging people to practice water conservation in their homes, every day, and all year round. Collection and storage of rain water for use is another strategy CARPHA says can be employed.