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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 13-88

August 15, 2013

CONTACT:

Chris Gilbride / Ted Timbers (718) 595-6600
Kimberly Spell / Chris Heywood (212) 484-1270

New York City, NYC & Company, and Hotel Association Partner to Save Millions of Gallons of Water

Eleven Premier Hotels will Reduce Water Consumption by 5 Percent and Save 13 Million Gallons of Water Annually;

Conservation Program Part of PlaNYC Efforts to Accommodate One Million More Residents by 2030 and to Prepare for Rehabilitation of Delaware Aqueduct

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland, CEO of NYC & Company George Fertitta, and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City Joseph E. Spinnato today announced that eleven of the city’s premier hotels have joined the New York City Hotel Water Conservation Challenge. As part of the challenge, each hotel will reduce their annual water consumption by 5 percent and thereby save a total of approximately 13 million gallons of water each year. Commercial buildings in New York City, and hotels in particular, represent a significant opportunity for water and financial savings because they contain a large number of bathroom and kitchen fixtures and have not been targeted in past conservation efforts, such as the toilet replacement program that focused on residential buildings. The hotels participating in the challenge include: The Waldorf-Astoria, The Ritz-Carlton Central Park, The Intercontinental Times Square, The Intercontinental Barclay New York, The Millennium Broadway, Tryp NYC, Sheraton TriBeca, New Yorker Hotel, Grand Hyatt New York, Holiday Inn Express, and the Carlton Hotel.

“As New York City’s population continues to grow and we attract record numbers of tourists each year we are planning for the long-term sustainability of our water supply,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland. “In the relatively near term the Delaware Aqueduct, which carries more than half the city’s daily water needs from our upstate reservoirs, will be temporarily shut down for necessary repairs and in the long term we want to reduce the amount of energy required to treat our water. I applaud the Hotel Association for joining this important effort to reduce demand for water.”

“New York City continues to be a destination for both new residents and visitors and we must ensure that we accommodate this growth in a sustainable way,” said Sergej Mahnovski, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. “Public-private partnerships like the New York City Hotel Water Conservation Challenge are an integral component to ensuring that our world class drinking water will be available to future generations.”

“New York City’s tourism industry has experienced unprecedented growth, welcoming more visitors and building more hotels than ever before. It is imperative that the sector continues to adopt new environmentally friendly initiatives like the City’s water conservation program,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. “As we prepare to welcome 55 million visitors by 2015, we want to congratulate the Department of Environmental Protection, the Hotel Association and the eleven participating hotels for their efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of our City’s water supply.”

"We are pleased that a number of our member hotels are participating in the worthwhile effort to conserve water, and we encourage all of our members to consider signing on to this important initiative," said Joseph E. Spinnato, CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City.

Participating hotels are equipped with water meters and Automated Meter Reading (AMR) devices, which track water consumption in near real time. The hotels will use 12 months of water consumption data to establish a baseline profile and track their progress in reducing water consumption and the City will develop a toolkit of resources to help the hotels meet their targets efficiently. Water reduction strategies may include good housekeeping techniques, such as finding and repairing leaks quickly, and developing literature that encourages hotel visitors to practice water conserving behavior. Physical upgrades will also be explored, such as the replacement of inefficient plumbing fixtures and the adoption of new technologies that use water minimally, or reuse it to the extent possible.

Reductions in water consumption can also help the hotels realize financial savings. The eleven participating hotels consumed between 50,000 and 320,000 gallons of water each day during the last 12 months, and if they meet the 5 percent reduction goal, each hotel has the potential to realize savings of between $10,000 and $70,000 on their annual water and sewer bills based on current rates.

The water conservation challenge is one part of New York City’s Water for the Future Program that will help to ensure clean, reliable, and safe drinking water for nine million New Yorkers for decades to come. The central part of the Program is repairing the Delaware Aqueduct, which supplies roughly half of the city’s daily drinking water needs. Later this year, ground will be broken on two 800 foot deep shafts and a 2.5-mile bypass tunnel around a portion of the Aqueduct that is leaking in Roseton, in Orange County. The project will also include repair work to fix leaks in Wawarsing, in Ulster County, from the inside of the existing tunnel. The 2.5 mile bypass tunnel will run east from the Town of Newburgh in Orange County, under the Hudson River, to the Town of Wappinger, in Dutchess County. In order to facilitate these repairs to the Aqueduct, the tunnel must be temporarily shut down between 2021 and 2022. In preparation for the shutdown, DEP has developed a combination of conservation programs and supplemental supplies that will ensure an uninterrupted supply of water. The program was initially estimated to cost over $2 billion but through advances in the engineering and design of the bypass and the water supply projects to support the repair, the estimated cost has been reduced to approximately $1.5 billion.

In addition to the conservation challenge, DEP has also developed the Municipal Water Efficiency Program to identify opportunities to conserve water at City-owned properties and facilities. As part of this program, DEP has partnered with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to install activation buttons on spray showers in 400 playgrounds around the city that will save 1.5 million gallons of water a day. DEP has also begun updating bathroom fixtures in 500 city schools that will save an additional 4 million gallons of water each day. To help encourage water conservation in private residences, later this year DEP will begin a voucher program that aims to replace up to 800,000 inefficient toilets with high efficiency models that will save up to 30 million gallons of water a day by 2018.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.

About NYC & Company:

NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. For more information, go to nycgo.com.

Established in 1878, the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. is one of the oldest professional trade associations in the nation. Its membership includes more than 260 of the finest hotels in New York City, representing more than 70,000 rooms and 32,000 employees. It is an internationally recognized leader in New York City's $5 billion tourism industry.

More Information

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