The tourism boom around one of the world’s most popular summer holiday destinations, the Mediterranean Sea, is endangering freshwater supplies and tourists in the area must cut their consumption, the environmental group WWF said in an announcement last month.
Each holiday-maker uses 50 percent to four times more water than that consumed by a regular inhabitant of a Spanish town, according to a report by WWF on the impact of tourism on freshwater resources in the region.
The report also criticized the widespread construction of golf courses and swimming pools that increase the demand for water where it is already scarce during summer.
“The tourism industry’s growing demand for water-guzzling facilities and services such as water parks, golf courses, and landscaping is destroying the very resource it depends on,” said Holger Schmid, of WWF’s Mediterranean Freshwater Program.
A golf course needs about one million cubic meters of water per hectare (14 million cubic feet per acre) a year, equivalent to the water consumption of a town of 12,000 inhabitants, according to WWF.
Eight golf courses are being built in Cyprus, which like many coastal areas around the Mediterranean suffers from water shortages during the hottest months of the year. The Mediterranean coastline attracts about 200 million tourists a year, nearly double the number 20 years ago.