The second forum on water and tourism highlights the importance of taking on the challenge of increasing water reuse.

Feb 9, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The Parc Bit hosted experts and economic and political leaders who debated the alternatives for optimising the management of the resource

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The second forum on water and tourism highlights

This Wednesday, the auditorium of Parc Bit hosted the second forum on water and tourism, organised within the framework of the LIFE+WAT’SAVEREUSE project with the collaboration of the Hotel Federation of Mallorca. During the event, water experts and stakeholders from the tourism sector shared their experiences and common challenges when it comes to approaching water cycle management measures.

In closing the event, the councillor for the Environment and Territory, Miquel Mir, highlighted “the high quality of the initiatives for improving the water cycle that we have heard about today” and thanked “the commitment of those attending to optimising the management of a vital and scarce resource for our archipelago”.
Mir pointed out that “one of the greatest challenges we face is to increase the percentage of water reuse, an objective whose achievement does not depend solely on the Regional Ministry but requires the involvement of the rest of the administrations as well as the different economic actors”. “In this sense, the involvement of the main economic engine of the archipelago will be vital,” he added.

The Councillor for Economic Model, Tourism and Employment, Iago Negueruela, made a very positive assessment of the forum and recalled the Government’s efforts to achieve efficient water management, both in infrastructures and in tourist establishments.

“We believe that water and its management is a key issue, which is why, in coordination with Medi Ambient, we have been talking for some time about the possibility of articulating aid in this sense so that the sector can make a better transition in terms of sustainable water management,” he said while highlighting the value of the new aid package, worth 8 million euros, aimed at the sector. “This is a very important call for public resources”, she added.

The president of the FEHM, María Frontera, focused her speech on the importance of the autonomous community having its own strategic plan on circularity (a request from the FEHM in the framework of the tourism law) and improving public-private collaboration, maintaining it over time and taking advantage of the various types of funds that should be used for water management, such as the sanitation levy that all companies pay, what the town councils receive through the water tax, the hundreds of millions that are collected through the ITS, the Next Eu funds so that these investments are planned and incorporate existing technology to improve once and for all the management of a scarce resource such as water.

In this sense, he explained that the good practices in water management presented by Protur Hotels, Eix Hotels, PortBlue Club Pollentia Resort and Club Robinson, are an example of continuity of the work begun in recent years and of the progress already made in the hotel sector.

To conclude, he stressed that “although it is true that we work on the internal part of consumption management, it is no less important that we want to have a comprehensive and participative vision of water management from a public perspective and we also hope to find out how this has evolved in recent years, when we knew that water losses in the networks amounted to more than 27%, reaching up to 70% in some cases, when it is perfectly possible to avoid it because the technology is available and it is a question of making use of the tools within reach”.

As a fact that should make us reflect, he stressed, “I just want to remember that every year more than 35.6 million tonnes are lost in the networks, 2.6 million more than what the tourist industry as a whole consumes (33 million) and is equivalent to filling the reservoirs of Cúber and Gorg Blau three times over. This data is backed up by a UIB study presented last June by Doctors Enrique Moran and Celso García, the latter of whom is with us today, which shows that tourism consumes 1 out of every 4 litres, that is to say 25% of the available water resources”.

The LIFE+ Watsavereuse project aims to help alleviate the environmental problem of water scarcity and drought by carrying out awareness campaigns to reduce the overall water consumption of tourists during their stay in hotels by at least 10%, promote and raise awareness among stakeholders in the tourism industry to save and reuse water, encourage the tourism industry to implement at least 5 water reuse solutions, strengthen collaboration between public administrations and operators in the value chain and reduce overall freshwater consumption by 30%.

This project, financed by the LIFE programme, is coordinated by the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion and involves nine participants from Catalonia, Occitania and the Balearic Islands. The Balearic Islands are represented by the Balearic Water Agency, the Balearic Islands Tourism Strategy Agency (AETIB) and the Balearic Islands Chemical Cluster (CliqIB).