Beyond Megaprojects?. Water Alternatives for Mass Tourism in Coastal Mediterranean Spain

David Sauri Pujol, Antonio Manuel Rico-Amoros, Jorge Olcina-Cantos, José Fernando Vera-Rebollo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Water availability in adequate quantities and qualities is a fundamental requirement for tourism. In the Mediterranean, one of the world's leading tourist destinations, water availability is subject to modest and erratic precipitation figures which may decline with climate change. The tourist industry therefore may have to assure future supplies by either recurring to new technologies such as desalination or increasing efficiency in water use. A third and yet little explored alternative would be to seek for complementary of uses with irrigation, the traditional user in many coastal Mediterranean areas and holder of substantial amounts of water. In this paper we present the example of the Consorcio de Aguas de la Marina Baja to show how Benidorm, in Mediterranean Spain and one of the most important tourist centers of the Mediterranean, obtains part of its water through agreements with farmers by which these trade their water with Benidorm and other towns' treated wastewater of enough quality to be used for irrigation, and obtain several compensations in return. The advantages and disadvantages of the water trade between farmers and tourist interests in the Benidorm area are discussed and we argue that solutions to the pending water crisis of many coastal Mediterranean tourist areas may not need to rely uniquely on expensive technologies to generate new resources but may attempt other alternatives. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-565
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Agriculture
  • Benidorm
  • Exchange
  • Mediterranean
  • Tourism
  • Wastewater
  • Water

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