Mir presented the Government’s investments at the event ‘Accelerating change through partnership and cooperation’.
The Catalan Minister of the Environment and Territory, Miquel Mir, took part this Monday in the conference ‘Accelerating change through partnership and cooperation’, organised by members of the European project LIFE+WAT’SAVEREUSE. At the event, Mir explained the policies to promote reuse that is being implemented in the Balearic Islands.
The reuse of water for environmental and urban uses
In this regard, the councillor emphasised that “in the Balearic Islands we currently reuse 30% of water, reaching almost the maximum of this resource available and ready for reuse”. “Our objectives are ambitious, and for this reason, in the Hydrological Plan of the Balearic Islands, reuse becomes a pillar”, added Mir, who recalled that “in a Mediterranean archipelago, where the consequences of the climatic emergency are more accentuated than in other territories, it is a duty to protect a resource as scarce as water and to commit to its regeneration”.
The councillor stressed that, in order to comply with the recently approved new Hydrological Plan, “the Regional Ministry will guarantee funding for projects that are committed to the reuse of water for urban and environmental uses”. In this regard, it should be noted that, according to a study by the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB), one out of every four litres of water is consumed by the tourism sector.
It should be remembered that, through LIFE+WAT’SAVEREUSE, the hotel sector in the Balearic Islands has intensified its involvement in the efficient management of the water cycle. In this regard, Mir pointed out that “without collaboration between institutions and economic and social agents, progress cannot be made from a cross-cutting vision”. The councillor recalled the commitment of the Government of the Balearic Islands to transforming the management of the water cycle in the tourism sector, through the 8-million-euro aid package.
Through these funds, tourist establishments will be able to carry out improvements in aspects related to the management of the water cycle, such as the reuse of wastewater, the replacement of swimming pool filtering systems, the installation of swimming pool water reuse systems, raising awareness of water consumption among visitors and encouraging the visualisation of water consumption in tourist establishments.
Likewise, the aids are intended to encourage the installation of double buttons on cisterns or water aerators on taps and showers, as well as other more advanced systems with the aim of making better use of grey water or rainwater for irrigation.
Whatever the case, Mir emphasised that “optimal management of the entire water cycle is achieved with the involvement of all the competent administrations”. “We have known for some time that 27% of drinking water is lost through the distribution network, and in some municipalities, this figure exceeds 60%. In order to mitigate the effects of losing so much water through the municipal networks, we are allocating 20 million euros so that the municipalities of the islands can reduce losses”.
The first results of the ‘Every drop counts’ campaign, which aims to inform, raise awareness, promote and give practical examples of how tourists can save water during their stay, were also presented during the conference.
From June to September 2022, this campaign, which consists of different 20-second video capsules in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, was broadcast online in five languages.
It achieved more than 5 million impressions and 2.2 million views on YouTube. In terms of impressions on social networks, 18 million were added: 10.5 million on Facebook, almost 6.5 million on Instagram and 1.1 million on Twitter.
The LIFE+ Watsavereuse project aims to help alleviate the environmental problem of water scarcity and drought by carrying out awareness-raising campaigns to reduce the overall water consumption of tourists during their stay in hotels by at least 10%, promote and raise awareness among tourism industry stakeholders 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 is a project financed by the LIFE programme, coordinated by the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion, which explains its development with the participation of new 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).