Combining technologies helps hotels to save water

Hotels in the arid Mediterranean region can save up to 30–50 % of their water by treating and reusing their water using a combination of innovative techniques. Building on the results of a demonstration at a hotel in north-eastern Spain, EU researchers are aiming to help make the tourism industry more sustainable.

EU-funded scientists and SMEs have shown how hotels in the Mediterranean region can use less water by combining innovative technologies to treat and reuse their own wastewater. The DEMEAUMED project which ended recently had two aims; ‘how to tackle water scarcity in the Mediterranean area, but also how to foster the tourism economy and take it in the direction of sustainability,’ says Gianluigi Buttiglieri, DEMEAUMED’s scientific manager and research scientist at the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) in Girona, Spain.

Tourism is a thirsty industry, with academics estimating that a tourist uses an average of 300 litres of water per day, almost double the 160 litres typically used by a domestic consumer. Greywater (less contaminated water from showers, sinks and washing machines) and wastewater, from toilets, produced by hotels typically go straight into the sewerage system. ‘What we wanted to do is to treat the contaminated water onsite and reuse as much of it as possible within the hotel itself,’ says Dr Buttiglieri.

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