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Transcript of Water Culture Management Plan Hotels Palma Bay, Mallorca ... · PDF file Water Culture...

  • Water Culture Management Plan

    Hotels Palma Bay, Mallorca (Mediterranean)

    Author Rosa Munar Quetglas ([email protected])

    Advisors Jaime Stein & Alec Appelbaum

    5 August 2013

    For further information contact

    Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development MS Urban Environmental Systems Management

    61 St. James Place Brooklyn, New York

    Phone: 718-399-4323 www.pratt.edu/uesm

  •   2  


    Tourism & Freshwater use in Mallorca 3

    Consequences overexploitation freshwater in Mallorca 6

    Mass water consumption in Palma Bay 8

    Water Culture Management Plan for Hotels 11

    Lack of regional literate case studies 16

    Conclusion 17

    Appendix 18

    Bibliography 34

  •   3  

    Tourism & Freshwater use in Mallorca

    Drinking water is one of the natural resources essential for human life and

    activity but availability is gradually reduced in Mediterranean countries. The

    global distribution of water in the hydrosphere is mainly concentrate in oceans

    and seas. Underground water is less than 1% of the total water in the planet but

    it represents the 30% of the global freshwater supply. It is an elevated number,

    because the rest amount is located at the ice sheet in the Antarctic (see table 1).

    Nowadays, availability of underground water is seriously threatened in the

    Mediterranean touristic areas.

    In the Balearic Islands, groundwater has been thrown millenniums the main

    water source. However, in 1999, for the first time, the European Plan Bleu

    estimated that 4% of the aquifers in the islands were overexploited. In Mallorca,

    the biggest island of the Balearic Archipelago, groundwater bodies represent

    eighty percent of the hydric provision.

    Table 1 Distribution of Freshwater in the Hydrosphere by Rosa Munar.

    Source: Govern de les Illes Balears. Conselleria Medi Ambien. Los caminos del agua en las Islas Baleares. Acuíferos y manantiales. Palma: GPO, 2009. Web. 13 April 2013

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    The absence of surface water makes groundwater the main freshwater

    capital of the island. The aquifers are considered the natural underground water

    tanks that recollect the rainwater, being available during dry season. Dry season

    also is known as the tourist season in Mallorca. Clearly, a peak period of water

    consumption is occurred at this time of year as a result of tourism.

    During the last fifty years, touristic development has represented an

    important economical growth in Balearic Islands. Meanwhile, underground water,

    the main freshwater resource in the island, has been on overuse alert. The two

    fundamental factors, which have significant impacts on freshwater ecosystem in

    Mallorca, are the population growth, especially during tourist season, and the high

    average of water consumption by tourist. Those are strongly related to the

    tourism industry in the island.

    High water consumption due to population growth

    Since the touristic boom began in the 60s, population in Mallorca has been

    gradually increasing, being duplicated, from 339,966.00 in 1950 to 876,147.00 in

    2011 (see fig.1). The coast and its adjacent areas mostly are shaped by sand.

    Since it lacks of soil nutrient for farming, the coastline has swiftly become

    residential areas along with increasingly hotels business. This represents an

    important migration from inland population to the coastal zones. Based on the

    Annual Tourism Report done 2011 for the Balearic Government the island has

    12,316,399.00 visitors every year, mainly concentrated from June to August,

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    make its tourism industry as an essential characteristic of the region. In 2000, the

    European Environmental Agency reported that water consumption during peak

    tourism month of July in 1999 in the Balearic Islands was equivalent to 20% of

    that used by the local population in a whole year.

    Higher consumption of water for associated facilities and leisure

    Tourist facilities and leisure activities require continually access to water.

    Based on the report of Freshwater and Tourism in the Mediterranean done by

    WWF, a tourist in Mallorca consumes 291 liter/day, in contrast, the water

    consumption of a households in the Balearic Island is 121 liter/day. Local

    residents in Mallorca consumed 38,695 m3 of water in 2011, was just a small

    number, compared with 3,584,072.10m3 of water consumed by 12 billions visitors

    at the same year. Plus, the average stay in 2011 was 8.4 days per tourist.

    Therefore, a quite simple math, the water consumption of tourism sector

    represents ninety two times more than the local residents every year.

    0.00! 100,000.00! 200,000.00! 300,000.00! 400,000.00! 500,000.00! 600,000.00! 700,000.00! 800,000.00! 900,000.00!


    18 57 !

    18 60 !

    18 77 !

    18 87 !

    18 97 !

    19 00 !

    19 10 !

    19 20 !

    19 30 !

    19 40 !

    19 50 !

    19 60 !

    19 70 !

    19 81 !

    19 91 !

    20 01 !

    20 11 !


    Fig.1. Evolution population according census tracks from 1857 by Rosa Munar

    Source: Balearic Islands Statistics Institute (IBESTAT). Web 13 July 2013

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    Consequences overexploitation freshwater in Mallorca

    The overuse of groundwater, especially during dry season, represent a

    severe constrain situation for the whole island. Freshwater should be understood

    as a finite and vulnerable resource that needs to be protected.

    A fact is groundwater in the Balearic Islands is limited. The total amount is

    estimated in 400hm3 per year. That amount is the quantity of water that is

    captured in the aquifers throw the process of rainwater infiltration into the

    permeable soil. If the water captured every year is pictured like 1,600 soccer

    fields full of water, a single hotel consumes 6 soccer fields per year. Just in

    Mallorca there are 284 hotels. As the result, the amount of water is captured in

    the groundwater bodies of the group Balearic Islands will supply just 266 hotels

    per year.

    The groundwater in Mallorca is a vulnerable resource. It is important to

    understand aquifers regeneration process to realize the vulnerability of the

    system. A drop of water evaporated from the sea represents the first step of the

    water cycle. The journey from the infiltration into the soil throw the aquifers until it

    gets back to the sea, it is a process of millions of years. The circulation of 50km

    of a drop of water into surface water takes one day. On the other hand, the same

    distance throw the underground water can take months or years. When the

    groundwater bodies are damage it need a long period of time to be regenerated.

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    The Hydrological Plan of the Balearic Islands in 2009 defined the

    underground water was in serious damage. The main coastal aquifers have been

    salinized with no time estimated of the possible regeneration, even of the

    implementation of good water measures for the all island (see fig.2). The

    contamination has affected a lot of the groundwater bodies. Also, in some of the

    aquifers it has been overexploited the reservoirs, which represented the intrusion

    of salt water located in the coastal zones.

    Fig.2. Groundwater bodies and the period of time to reach good condition. Modify by Rosa Munar

    Source: Govern de les Illes Balears. Consellería de Medi Ambient, Direcció General de Recursos Hídrics. Guía del Plan Hidrológico de las Islas Baleares 2009 Documento de Divulgación. Palma: GPO, 2009. Web. 13 February 2013

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    Mass water consumption in Palma Bay

    Palma Bay, located on the southern part of the island, is half of the total

    population of the region. The capital Palma also is the highest population city with

    405,318 inhabitants. The Bay concentrates 55% of the total amount of hotels of

    the island, 159 hotels of 284 hotels in total. They are located in the area

    accommodates 38,876.00 hotel beds, where 83% are mainly 3 and 4 stars hotels

    with 73.8% occupancy rate per year. These types of hotels consume a high

    amount of water during drier months of the year. Thus, the concentration of mass

    water consumption hotels in Palma Bay makes the area to become a high

    potential market for implementation water saving strategies.

    Furthermore, the current water supply is constrained because of not only

    the decreased quality of aquifers, but also the economical crisis in recent years

    nationally. Investing into new water sources, such as desalination plants, has

    been a challenge for local government. In the past, the government invested in

    new water-infrastructure when freshwater became scared. However, since the

    50’s, the turning point of touristic development, the water supply systems ha