A report from Tourism Concern shows a disproportionate use of water by tourists in the developing world. The difference between daily water use by locals and that by tourists can be as much as 3100 liters (about 820 gallons) per person.
Tourism Concern looked at five case studies in Bali, The Gambia, Zanzibar, and Goa and Kerala in Southern India. They found that unregulated water use and sewage disposal by resorts has caused tensions. For instance, in 2010, a cholera outbreak in Zanzibar was blamed in part on sewage from hotels.
In Goa, resorts are depleting groundwater and wells and polluting waterways and beaches. Ironically, by appropriating public water supplies, resorts are undermining the tourism industry in the long term. With water shortages pitting city against city, tolerance for excessive water use may be running out.
Governments and the companies running the resorts should establish rules for water use that respect the local citizens’ rights to water. Tourism Concern has drawn up a set of principles of water equity in tourism.