California Innkeepers Get Creative About Conserving Water

SACRAMENTO, CA [May 18, 2015]--With drought conditions in California prompting mandatory water reductions, boutique hotels and B&Bs statewide are taking innovative measures to conserve water.  Beyond just providing guests with the option to reuse towels and bed linens, some members of the California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) have installed rainwater collection tanks, replaced lawns with drought resistant plants and swapped out appliances for more water-efficient models.  Most of the lodging properties listed below have installed low-flow showerheads and toilets; a few are also taking more novel approaches to water conservation.

At the Hofsas House in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the innkeepers recently installed two rain catchment tanks to collect and reuse water. They connected a 250-gallon rain catchment tank to their ice machine to collect the clean, filtered water that drains from the machine.  The tank fills up about every 10 days, and the water is used to fill the swimming pool and for landscape irrigation.  They connected another 850-gallon rain catchment tank to their front sidewalk and east roof to collect rainwater for irrigation.  The innkeepers have also installed a drip irrigation system with rain gauges in lieu of hand watering. 

On the Mendocino Coast, Elk Cove Inn recently replaced their large ice machine with a small one.  They also began keeping buckets in the kitchen for collecting unused water from glasses, water pitchers and flower vases.  They’ve been collecting five to 10 gallons a day and have been using it to water outdoor plants.  In addition, over the past three years, the inn has also been removing grass lawns from the property and replacing it with drought tolerant plants. 

In Sonoma County, Case Ranch Inn Bed & Breakfast removed the lawn from the south side of their inn and installed 16 raised beds for a flowering garden filled with drought tolerant plants and minimally watered by a drip irrigation system.  They have also replaced other sections of lawn with rock pathways.

The gardens at the Inn at Locke House near Lodi are filled with drought-tolerant and California native plants that require very little water.  All of the sprinklers and drip irrigation systems are on timers to conserve water. In the summer months, the inn allows the grass lawn to simply turn golden and go dormant. 

The native landscaping at Brewery Gulch Inn in Mendocino requires no sustaining irrigation.  The inn distributes educational materials on water conservation for both staff and guests.  The inn also recently replaced its sanitizer with a new, more energy and water efficient model. 

South of San Francisco in Moss Beach, Seal Cove Inn’s most significant water saving measure was the replacement of two sets of standard residential washers and dryers with two stacked commercial units.  The new commercial washers use 14 gallons of water per load compared with their old top-loader machines which used between 34-35 gallons per load.  The new commercial washers also extract water more effectively, so the drying time is also reduced, saving energy as well.

POSH Palm Springs Inn also recently replaced their old top-loading washing machines with new, more energy and water-efficient front-loading machines.  For its landscaping, the inn utilizes only desert plants and succulents, which are of course, drought resistant. 

In Garberville, Benbow Historic Inn recycles grey-water from their dining room into a filtration system used for irrigation and landscaping throughout the hotel.  Throughout the hotel and dining room, water is now served by request only.  In addition, the hotel has limited the operating hours for its on-site Splash Park and reduced watering for its golf course to more evenly distribute water and eliminate excess water run-off.

The water conservation measures at East Brother Light Station have been in place for 140 years.  The lighthouse inn is perched on a tiny island in a strait that separates San Francisco and San Pablo Bays with no access to municipal water supplies.  The collects all of its fresh water from rain using a cistern and tanks, which capture and store 70,000 gallons of water each year to last through the dry season.  Wastewater treatment for the inn is also self-contained. All wastewater is treated in an intermittent sand filter with UV lights for final disinfectant and then distributed underground into a vegetable garden. The inn’s buildings all use low-flush toilets and other water conserving fixtures.

For more information about each of the lodging properties, please visit


Media Contact: Ranee Ruble, or 503-788-3938


About Us

The California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) is the largest and most influential bed & breakfast and boutique inn association in the nation and is the only California bed & breakfast association affiliated with the California Hotel & Lodging Association. CABBI was formed in 1991 to promote the bed and breakfast experience to the traveling public and to educate, support and encourage CABBI members to provide a quality stay for inn travelers.