Environmental Protection

SFWMD Pilots Water CHAMP in the Florida Keys

In an effort to encourage small hotels and motels to conserve water, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is introducing the Water Conservation Hotel and Motel Program (Water CHAMP) to the Florida Keys.

Developed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 2002, Water CHAMP is a free public education program that helps hotels and motels save water, improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. The SFWMD is piloting the program in South Florida with lodging facilities in the Florida Keys that have fewer than 100 rooms.

"The hospitality industry in the Florida Keys has consistently demonstrated a strong environmental ethic," said SFWMD Governing Board member Michael Collins. "Water CHAMP helps hotel and motel owners conserve water, which reduces utility costs and provides an extra selling point to attract guests."

Hotels and motels that enroll in Water CHAMP with the SFWMD commit to:

  • Implement reuse programs that encourage guests to use towels and linens more than once during their stay.
  • Install 1.0-gallon-per-minute (or more efficient) faucet aerators in every guest room.

As a partner in Water CHAMP, the district is providing participating lodging facilities with the faucet aerators, which could save as much as 8 gallons of water per occupied room per night. Each hotel and motel that commits to the program will also receive orientation for property managers, training materials, linen reuse pillow cards, towel reuse door hangers and promotional materials for guests — all at no cost to the facility.

In 2008, more than 420 Southwest Florida hotels and motels collectively saved more than 181 million gallons of water by participating in Water CHAMP. Based on a recent water use audit of more than 100 of those participants, Keys lodging facilities could save an estimated 21 to 23 gallons of water per occupied room per night. The district will work with the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority to measure actual water savings generated by the program.

"Water CHAMP will be a significant part of the district’s efforts to create a lasting water conservation culture in South Florida," said SFWMD Executive Director Carol Ann Wehle. "We look forward to getting the program off to a successful start with our partner hotels and motels in the Florida Keys."

The combination of towel and linen reuse and faucet aerators will enable participating Keys hotels and motels to satisfy the water conservation criteria needed to join the Florida Green Lodging Program, pending verification and approval by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Established by the DEP in 2004, the Florida Green Lodging Program recognizes and rewards environmentally conscientious lodging facilities throughout the state.

Water CHAMP is a component of the district's Comprehensive Water Conservation Program, which encourages more responsible use of water resources throughout South Florida.

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