Deutsche Hospitality finances drinking water plants in the Egyptian desert
Hotel group demonstrates its commitment to sustainability: 1 euro donated for each online booking / Cooperation with atmosfair and American University of Cairo
As part of its Sustainability Programme, Deutsche Hospitality is financing the construction of three water treatment plants in the Egyptian desert. Since 1 March 2016, the hotel company has been running a website campaign entitled “1x1”, via which it makes a donation of one euro per online booking received to support water treatment. A five-figure sum has already been made available. The project is being implemented by the climate protection organisation atmosfair in conjunction with the American University of Cairo.
The first plant, which was completed at the end of last year in the small town of El Kefah, is already supplying up to 10,000 litres of clean water a day. This is enough to meet virtually all of the inhabitants’ requirements. Following positive feedback from users, two further plants are now planned. The water treatment facilities being installed are self-contained units which are operated decentrally. They have been developed by the Kassel-based company Autarcon, a spin-off from the University of Kassel. Innovative and multi-award winning “SunMeetsWater” technology filters out all heavy metals and disinfects the water, which then meets the standards laid down by the World Health Organisation. No external electricity supply and no additional chemicals are required. Photovoltaic modules located on the roof of the plant enable it to operate in an energy self-sufficient way without producing any emissions.
The Sustainability Centre at the American University of Cairo coordinates both the commissioning of the unit and any maintenance or repair works that are required. Technical operations are monitored by an inhabitant of El Kefah, who has undergone special training to perform this role. This means that the water treatment plant is also helping to create local jobs as well as reducing the risk of disease. In order to secure the long-term future of the project, the residents of El Kefah have taken on the responsibility of creating a reserve by paying a fee for the water they draw. They set the amount themselves, and the fund will enable them to meet the costs of maintaining and repairing the plant in future.
The town of El Kefah is located 600 kilometres to the South West of the Egyptian capital Cairo. It is home to 4,000 people, most of whom work in agriculture. Because the water available locally is contaminated and contains too much iron, it previously had to be filtered through clay pots. This manual process was time consuming and also failed to remove hazardous germs and other pathogens.
Torsten K. Schulze, Group Corporate Responsibility Representative at Deutsche Hospitality, stated: “Sustainability is an integral component of our strategy and a declared aim of Deutsche Hospitality. It is an issue which all employees have taken ownership of. We do not limit our commitment solely to our hotel operations, though our portfolio in Egypt includes nine hotels with more in the planning pipeline. Our objective is also to raise public awareness of the necessity for sustainable development.”
atmosfair Managing Director Dietrich Brockhagen added: “For us, this is a milestone. The project secures a local supply of drinking water without producing any CO2. It demonstrates the way forward to a more sustainable future for many similar regions all over the world. We are delighted to be playing a pioneering role together with Deutsche Hospitality.”
About Deutsche Hospitality
Deutsche Hospitality brings together three separate hotel brands – Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts, Jaz in the City und IntercityHotel. The Deutsche Hospitality brand encompasses a total of 125 hotels, 27 of which are at the development stage. The portfolio includes 56 Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts and 41 IntercityHotels. The first Jaz Hotel opened in Amsterdam in November 2015.
About atmosfair gGmbH
atmosfair gGmbH is a not-for-profit climate organisation which was established in 2004. It focuses mainly on travel and operates in a proactive way to protect the environment via such measures as using renewable energies to compensate for greenhouse gases. The drinking water project in Egypt was developed by atmosfair on the basis of an initiative by Deutsche Hospitality. As well as being responsible for the project’s design concept and management, atmosfair is also conducting a study at each location to investigate climate effect and other influences on sustainable development produced by the plants.