Impact of Cruise Activity on Freshwater Use in the Port of Palma (Mallorca, Spain)
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Lack of knowledge about freshwater use in ports of tourist destinations hinders accurate assessment of water availability and water planning. In this study, freshwater use in the Port of Palma (Spain) is analyzed by sector (commercial, mixed, navy and recreational) for the period 2007–2018. This study shows the dynamics of consumption and evaluates the effects of increased cruise tourism from 2007 to 2018 in the port. Water data supplied by the Port Authority of the Balearic Islands for each sector, together with water volumes recharged by ships, allow a detailed analysis of the water used by merchants and cruise lines. Results reveal a significant increase in freshwater withdrawals by cruise ships in the Port of Palma in the last ten years, closely related to the boom of cruise activity. Water use and recharge by cruise ships increased in both the high and low tourist seasons. Homeport cruises have a significant effect on the increase of freshwater withdrawals, as each homeport cruise ship recharged a mean volume of 628 m3 per mooring. This paper proposes a water withdrawal indicator of liters loaded per passenger at the port. Given the current lack of restriction on the number of cruise ships per day docking in the Port of Palma, cruise activity may well become a threat to water availability during drought episodes and another environmental cost to add to the already questioned cruise tourism activity of the island.