Impacts of Tourism on Freshwater Resources in Mediterranean
Student Id: 090303630
MI201: A. Beggar
November 19th, 2010
Mediterranean is considered to be one of the most desirable destinations for vacation due to its mild climate, beautiful costal sceneries and rich biodiversity. Each year millions of tourists visit Mediterranean, by 2025 tourist population in Mediterranean is predicted to reach up to 355 million per year. On average, 1/3 of the worlds overall tourism income is received by Mediterranean countries. Unfortunately, when the tourism activity peaks in summer, nature’s ability to produce freshwater is at its lowest. Currently, Mediterranean countries use dams ...view middle of the document...
To begin with, a thorough analysis will reveal that tourism has many impacts on freshwater resources, for example, over-exploitation of groundwater and non-renewable groundwater, pollution of surface water, degradation of wetlands and occupation of precious wetlands. Firstly, it is considered to over-exploit ground water when we exceed the average amount of renewed ground water. In other words, when we use more than what nature generates. Plan Bleu states that over-exploitation of groundwater is common in many Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Cyprus, Gaza, Israel, Turkey, Morocco, Greece and Libya. Over-exploitation in the coastal areas can lead to saline water invasion, meaning as the level of groundwater decreases, the water becomes more salty. This can result in reduced quality in the drinking water and may require additional treatments. In addition, salty water can have an adverse impact on agriculture as salty water can reduce productivity. It is evident that most coastal aquifers in Mediterranean suffer from over over-exploitation because its mild climate promotes both, tourism and agriculture.
As mentioned earlier, tourism can have a significant impact on freshwater as it can lead to occupation of wetlands area. Many unique ecosystems are situated along the coastal areas of the Mediterranean region. Numerous exclusive fishes, birds and species reside and breed in lagoons and deltas located in such aquatic ecosystems. Mediterranean region plays a vital role for migratory birds as they use wetlands as seasonal sites, approximately 2 billion migratory birds migrate here each year. Moreover, since urbanization has sprawled along the coasts of Mediterranean, new development is slowly directed towards the Mediterranean wetlands. Urbanization is evident because ¾ of the sand bank between Sicily and Spain have disappeared due to tourism linked development. Building infrastructures such as hotels and resorts adversely contributes to beach erosion. As previously stated, wetlands are quickly disappearing due to massive urbanization. Wetland degradation has played a role in decreasing number of species, number of birds have been decreased by approximately 52% in Mediterranean. To conclude, appropriate measures should be taken in order to stop tourism linked urbanization in the Mediterranean, if we wish to preserve its biodiversity.
Thirdly, a thorough examination of the amount of pollution within the surface water as well as the ground water will reveal that tourism contributes to the increasing pollution if freshwater resources in the Mediterranean. To begin with, much tourism based infrastructure such as hotels and resorts located along the coast are not directly connected to the sewage system, and as a result, hotels are required to build their own treatment plants. However,...