València becomes the first city in the world to measure the water footprint of tourist activity

Valencia | 29.07.2021 | 15:11

The city aspires to be a carbon- and water-neutral tourist destination

València reaches a new milestone in its commitment to the development of sustainable tourism by becoming the first city in the world to measure the water footprint of tourist activity. A new study, carried out by the Global Omnium company in collaboration with the Visit València Foundation and València City Council, shows the impact of human actions on water resources, calculating the consumption and pollution of fresh water that is derived, directly or indirectly, from the different components of tourist activity, from transport and accommodation to consumption in restaurants and leisure venues. 

The initiative is part of the Valencia’s Sustainable Tourism Strategy and joins the efforts to make the city a carbon-neutral destination by 2025. Similarly, València aims to have a neutral water footprint through more efficient management of this vital resource. The study has been verified by AENOR, the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification. 


The water footprint of tourism in València 

According to the study, the total volume of water consumption derived from tourist activity in València in 2019 was 74.23 cubic hectometres, which means a water footprint of 0.315 cubic metres per tourist per day. The calculation also includes cruise passengers and those who simply visit the city on an excursion. 

Only 16% of the total corresponds to water directly consumed by tourists, mainly in tourist accommodation, while 84% is indirect consumption associated with the production of goods and services, or food processing. This mainly includes the meals that visitors have in the city's restaurants, the purchases they make in its shops and the maintenance of attractions and entertainment venues. On the other hand, the use of transport (both public transport and car rental), makes up only 0.10% of tourism’s water footprint. 

Public water utilities account for only 0.53% of the water footprint, a figure that demonstrates the city's high level of water efficiency, the highest in Europe, with 87% real efficiency thanks, among other things, to a comprehensive digital metering network. 

Calculating the water footprint is the first step in identifying opportunities for reducing water consumption and implementing the necessary measures for a more sustainable management of this resource. This will not only generate savings for the local economy, but will also contribute to the conservation of natural ecosystems, and visitors will be able to enjoy themselves in a sustainable, safe, and healthy destination. 

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València becomes the first city in the world to verify and certify the carbon footprint of its tourist activity