Bali remains one of the most popular tourist areas for Australians and they, together with the thousands of holidaymakers and travellers from other countries who flock to this ‘tourist paradise,’ contribute hugely to the island’s economy. Tourism accounts for 25 per cent of the work force and 30 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. But Bali is facing a water crisis. During the dry season 260 of the island’s 400 rivers run dry and the biggest natural water reserve has dropped 3.5 metres in three years. Clearly there are many factors at work but unregulated tourism development including deforestation and encroachment on greenbelt areas have been claimed to be major contributors to the water crisis. The decreasing levels of water availability and quality are experienced most acutely by the poorer sectors of society, which also remain largely excluded from tourism’s benefits.
Bali is one example among many where inequity in the use of water resources develops between the high consumption in tourist resorts and depletion of vital supply to the local population. In a report entitled “Water Equity in Tourism; A Human Right – A Global Responsibility” just published and presented to the UK Parliament last week the organisation “Tourism Concern” presents well-referenced studies in 5 well-known and popular tourist areas which illustrate the disparity between water consumption in resorts, large hotels and golf courses on the one hand, and local communities on the other.
The report sets out a set of nine Principles, underpinned by the notion of water as a human right, which should apply to Governments, the Tourist Industry and all other stakeholders including local communities – and tourists.
Tourism Concern – Action for Ethical Tourism is a London-based independent campaigning organisation. The Water Equity report is available online at: