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4. Water Conservation

 

Water conservation is an important strategy for sustainable tourism, that can pay dividends in several ways including:
 

  • improving the experience of the tourist
  • cost savings
  • protection of ecosystems
  • disaster reduction
  • reducing pollution in the water ways
     

Droughts have already had negative impacts on the quality of the tourism experience in the Caribbean, other destinations in the U.S., and around the world.  New drought cycles from climate change may complicate this existing situation.

Good water conservation programs can help ensure that the quality of the tourism experience remains high.

In Bermuda, and the U.S. Virgin Islands the law requires new development to include rainwater collection to help provide sufficient water supplies

Bermuda white roofs with limestone tiles are used to collect water.

Water conservation also can save significant dollars in less water use, less water treatment costs, less labor costs, and less energy use.  Using less water also strengthens the local economy as more economic resources are available for the local area.

Water conservation also helps protect ecosystems that include tourist attractions that may be related to fishing, hiking, sailing, etc.

Water conservation can also be a tool for disaster reduction.  Landscaping along can help reduce storm runoff in the water ways as much as 50%.  This not only lessons the impacts of storm surge from hurricanes or floods but also speeds the recovery as only half the impact occurs.

Finally, good water conservation also reduces the pollution in the water ways as the less  storm and sewer runoff into the streams translates into less pollution in the water ways.

The potential is enormous.  Walt Disney World for example has been able to:

 

  • keep the same aquifer levels for 22 years despite the tremendous growth of properties including hotels, hospitals, shopping areas, and parks.
  • develop programs that use approximately 30% or the resorts overall water needs and 80% of its irrigation needs from reclaimed water.
  • been able to reduce its daily water consumption from 34 million gallons a day in 1994 to 22 million gallons a day despite significant parks and resort expansion.

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