Catalan hotel owners buy €1.5m desalination plant to fill pools amid drought

Tourism industry prepares for potential challenges in upcoming summer season

A swimming pool in a hotel in Sitges
A swimming pool in a hotel in Sitges / Gemma Sánchez Bonel
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

February 16, 2024 03:25 PM

February 16, 2024 03:34 PM

The tourism sector in Catalonia is preparing for the summer season as the region faces the worst drought in its history

In Lloret de Mar, on Catalonia's Costa Brava, hotel owners have banded together to purchase a mobile desalination plant to fill swimming pools and ensure drinking water is available during the summer season. 

The desalination plant, which will be paid for by the hotels, campsites and apartment owners who will benefit from it, will cost €1.5 million and will be operational in May. 

The plant will have a capacity of 50 cubic meters of water per hour and will be located on one side of Platja Gran beach. It will not draw water directly from the sea, but from a natural well in the sand.

The Catalan Minister for Climate Action, David Mascort, has assured that he will do "everything possible" to approve the project, but warned that they first have to "receive the proposal" and "analyze if it can be done legally".

Lloret de Mar is the second municipality in Catalonia with the most hotel beds, surpassed only by Barcelona, and welcomes more than one million tourists every year. 

Catalonia is experiencing the worst drought in its history, and most of the region was declared to be in a state of emergency on February 1 due to the ongoing situation.    

Tourism is a cornerstone of the Catalan economy, contributing 12% of GDP and employing nearly 13% of the workforce, and the sector is concerned about the effects the drought will have this summer.   

Catalan hotels are beginning to implement several water conservation measures, such as installing reservoirs to regulate water pressure, changing faucets to minimize consumption, and converting swimming pools from freshwater to saltwater.