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ITC Maurya: Mastering water conservation - 01 Apr 2008

Closeon the heels of ITC Maurya winning the 'Best eco-friendly hotel –Special Prize' award by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Shayan Mallick visits the property to find out theinitiatives taken by the hotel to combat ecological degradation

Asa part of its WelcomEnviron initiatives, ITC Maurya has undertaken anumber of steps towards maintaining a greener and healthierenvironment. The hotel undertook a host of multi-faceted programmes tonot only improve its own environment, but also to propagateenvironmental causes. Their guiding principle is ‘Reduce, Reuse andRecycle’. The hotel has its own programme, encompassing localparticipation, creating awareness among employees and internalconservation, through energy-saving  gadgets and environment-friendlymaterial.

Ecologicaldegradation is looming large on the horizon. Global-warming, depletingwater level, deforestation and their combined effect on living andnon-living beings have reached such a proportion, that it threatens thevery existence of humanity.

ITC Maurya’s initiatives

Understanding the science, economics and politics of ecologicaldegradation can be an uphill task, because the problem is global. It isinstructive to study the initiatives undertaken by ITC Maurya, a fivestar deluxe hotel property, spread across five acres and located nearthe plush Diplomatic Enclave in the national capital. The hotel onlyrecently has been awarded the ‘Best eco friendly hotel – Special Prize’by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

ITC Maurya consumed an average of 1300 kilolitres of water, per day,some ten years ago. The average consumption was down to 800 kilolitres,until a couple of years ago. Today, the hotel consumes 625 kilolitresof water on an average and is striving to bring the consumption leveldown to an ambitious 450 kilolitres of water per day, by the end of thecurrent year. There was a time when the chillers, one of the majorconsumption areas in the hotel, used to consume 300 kilolitres ofwater, which has now been brought down to 150 kilolitres. The figurelooks all the more impressive, considering the fact that water isbecoming such a precious commodity.

Water positive facility

Today, ITC Maurya boasts of being a water-positive facility. It is ableto generate more water than it consumes. Net water consumption acrossvarious ITC facilities in 2003-04 was 8.44 million kilolitres and thetotal potential created through RWH (Rain Water Harvesting) was 16.06million kilolitres.

“Thehotel has minimised consumption of water, energy and all other naturalresources. We comply with all the environmental legislation and theeffort is not just to reduce, reuse and recycle the resources consumedby the facility, but to surpass the set benchmark. The key to ourstrategy is sensitisation, conservation and water table enhancement”,says Dipak Haksar, Vice President - Operations, ITC Ltd - HotelsDivision & General Manager - ITC Maurya.

Water conservationmeasures

•Internal water audits are carried out to highlight high consumptionareas and an action plan is formed to restrict the same

• The company has installed water meters to track water consumption

•In order to save pumping energy and for water bifurcation, the waterline is bifurcated into lower head and higher head requirements

• Pressure reducing valves have been introduced in lines, which have low pressure requirements

• Flow restrictors / aerators are introduced at all guest rooms (In wash basins and shower fittings)

• W/Cs cisterns, with dual flushing arrangement is used in place of conventional flush valves

• Treated effluent discharged from ETP is utilised for horticultural purposes and cooling towers

• Occupancy sensors are used for all guest bathrooms and public areas

• Enhancement of ETP to STP plant with energy efficient pumps

•Chilled water flow for the all AHUs and TFAs is adjusted by the use oftwo way valves in the pipeline Depending on the load, the two wayvalves adjust the flow of water through the coils.

Aspart of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the management hasundertaken a host of measures to reduce its water consumption in theproperty, apart from measures undertaken to minimise its use of energyand other natural resources. These measures have solved some waterproblems not just for the property, but also for the surrounding areas.

Rain water harvesting

ITC Maurya affected a Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) system backed by somestate-of-the-art innovative techniques and technologies some two yearsago. At the time, when the hotel was introduced to RWH system at aninvestment of about Rs 20 lakh, its seven bore wells were drawing waterfrom 85 to 90 feet underground. In little less than two years, thewater table has witnessed drastic recharge in the area around the hoteland the bore wells today have to draw water up to 35 - 40 feet underthe ground.

Apart from recharging the water table, it has also provided criticalirrigation to moisture starved surrounding areas. At the same time, thehotel has also reduced its dependency on bore wells, by reducing itsoverall water consumption. Half of the water requirement is met by NewDelhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). “Our revised target is to furtherreduce our water consumption to 450 kilolitres by the end of thisyear”, says Haksar. If this target is achieved, it will mean a whopping50 per cent reduction compared to the amount of water it used to draw acouple of years ago.

Active involvement needed

“Tobe effective, the active involvement of all concerned stakeholders isrequired in order to create a framework for an effective watermanagement climate. We are currently in the process of overhauling andupgrading our ETP plant and once that is accomplished, its capacity oftreating effluent and sewage water will increase significantly. Thesurplus treated water will be used by civic bodies like NDMC tomaintain the greenery along the roads and flyovers in the vicinity, theparks, the Dhaula Kuan ridge area forests and other public areas in thevicinity,” says Haksar.

“Measureslike inserting shower-like devices in the mouth of the water-hose toretard flow or closing half or three-fourth of the valve below the washbasin have been found to be highly effective. The hotel has invested ina sprinkler system, as the common watering practice is highly waterintensive or wasteful.  These measures incur little or no cost,” says NRamamoorthy, Chief Engineer, ITC Maurya Hotel.

“Thehydropneumatic water distribution system under which water isdistributed, helps in effective handling of demand-side-management.This  reduces unnecessary water wastage. It’s an automatic system anddoes not require manual intervention,” informs S Arunaachalam, AsstEngineer, ITC Maurya Hotel.

The hotel uses ETP treated recycled waters in horticulture activities,floor washing, fountains and cascades. These areas alone consume around100 kilolitres of water per day. ETP treated water is also used inchillers and cooling towers, which consumes 150 kilolitres of water perday.

Anotherimportant measure the hotel has undertaken is Xeriscape. This is a formof landscaping in which plants like cactus are grown as these plants donot need much water. Thus, Xeriscape reduces water consumptiondrastically.