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The Fight for Water in Hotel Bathrooms

The Fight for Water in Hotel Bathrooms
Jeff Edwards

In the name of environmental responsibility, the hotel industry has slowly transformed once daily towel service into an amenity available only upon request. To be fair, the transition has saved millions of gallons of water each year and is only a minor inconvenience. But, more recent, less-official efforts to conserve water haven’t been quite so painless.

However, more recent moves to build on these water conservation efforts haven’t been quite so painless. New low-flow bathroom water fixtures have been spotted by FlyerTalkers all over and left them wondering if this isn’t the new way that hotel room water is going to be.

The Water Situation in American and European Hotels

One FlyerTalker, who’s recently stayed in a number of hotels in Europe and North America has noticed water flow so low that it has made it “a lot harder for a proper hair washing to be done using shampoo and then conditioner, and it also makes it difficult for families to shower down their kids as easily/quickly/comprehensively as before.”

In some cases, the water is restricted by fixtures that can easily be removed but that’s not always the case. “What’s the point of making large bathrooms and making them look better than before when the bathrooms function worse for hotel room guests than they used to do so? ‘All hat, no cattle’ and ‘dog and pony show’ come to mind when thinking of these hotel rooms’ updated bathrooms.”



Shampoo Is a Privilege Not a Necessity?

Other FlyerTalkers, however, argue that complaining about low-flow showers is the equivalent of trying to stop the rain by complaining. Not since the California water wars of the 1920s have two opposing sides been so far apart. You actually might find going a day without shampoo and conditioner might actually be good for yer head and hair,” FlyerTalker FlyingUnderTheRadar offered. “Otherwise just use less soap.”

Other members suggested that hotels’ stinginess with water could make a substantial difference in the long run. Eco-conscious travelers offered their own tips for showering with less water while away from home. When it comes to personal grooming, it seems one size doesn’t fit all.

“It’s intended to save water, which would add up to a significant amount over thousands of guests,” FlyingUnderTheRadar agreed. “You can simply use less soap/shampoo, or spend an extra minute or two in the shower. Not really an issue to me. I seldom use shampoo while traveling unless it’s an extended trip.”



The Hotel Manager’s Guide to Water Efficiency

There is considerable evidence that hotels are making a concerted effort to reduce the amount of water guests use. A report from the New York City Environmental Protection Agency notes that hotels can save a considerable amount of money as well as protect the environment by installing low-flow bathroom fixtures in guest rooms. The study notes that hotel properties account for 12 million gallons of water use each day in New York City alone.

“If the fixtures in the guest rooms are old and inefficient, they should be replaced with EPA WaterSense® labeled products,” the Hotel Managers Guide to Water Efficiency contends. “This will ensure water savings and satisfactory performance.”

Other recommended measures to save the resource include training housekeeping staff to use less water when cleaning and not steam-cleaning carpets. These simple steps are said to have the added benefit of making housekeeping routines more efficient.

Have you noticed a water shortage during your hotel stays? And have you found a workaround for the problem? Or is this a good thing for the future of hotels? Share your opinion in the FlyerTalk forum thread on the topic

View Comments (4)


  1. FlyingNone

    January 30, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    …”train housestaff to use less water when cleaning”. ? Doesn’t sound very efficient to me and what an excuse for them to do less work. Pretty soon hotels will find a way to share bathrooms down the hall like hostels.

  2. strickerj

    January 31, 2020 at 4:26 am

    I’m in the shower until the job is done – if the water pressure is low, then it ultimately takes me longer to bathe. So, for me, this change doesn’t save water at all.

  3. cmd320

    February 19, 2020 at 6:09 am

    Low water pressure is about one of the dumbest things ever thought up. It takes the same amount of water to wash away soap/shampoo etc. A higher pressure shower means I’m done faster. A lower pressure one simply means it takes longer, no water is conserved.

  4. drphun

    February 21, 2020 at 8:25 am

    will I need to start bringing a wrench with me to remove the restriction? I can definitely do that.

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