Tourism Concern has released a study that shows hotel guests in developing countries use more than 3,000 litres of fresh water a day, compared to 93 litres used by locals – a disparity that causes “local conflict, exacerbating poverty and helping to spread disease,” according to a recent article in The Guardian. The report uses Indonesia, India, Tanzania, and Gambia as case studies to this “massive inequality” that is only bound to increase as the world becomes increasingly challenged by escalating development and populations concurrently with diminishing fresh water.
- In resort villages in Zanzibar where tourists use sixteen times the fresh water consumed by locals, hotels must employ guards to protect water pipes from damage inflicted by angry villagers who blame the resorts for falling water tables
- Inadequate sewage and groundwater systems from resorts has been linked to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera as well as the salination of local freshwater wells
- Almost 2,500 children die daily globally from diarrhea due to unsafe water and sanitation conditions related to water
- Tourism Concern calls upon governments to create and enforce regulations for both water and tourism management that puts locals’ rights first
Rachel Noble, head of Policy and Research at Tourism Concern, stated:
Governments need to provide and enforce clear regulatory frameworks for tourism and water management that puts the water rights of communities first. If governments are serious about using tourism as a means to alleviate poverty and to support sustainable development, marginalised groups and communities, particularly women who usually bear the greatest burden of fetching water, must be empowered to participate in water and tourism decision-making processes. It’s time for the tourism sector to take responsibility for its water use and address the wider impacts of its consumption beyond the hotel walls.