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Marina Baja (Alicante Province) – Tourism and water supply

from 978-3-14-100790-9 from page 57 fig. 2
Diercke Karte Marina Baja (Alicante Province) – Tourism and water supply
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Marina Baja (Alicante Province) – Tourism and water supply
The administrative district ("comarca") of Marina Baja is situated in the Spanish province of Alicante on the Costa Blanca. The main economic activity in the region is tourism; Benidorm is one of the most important tourist centres in Spain. The flat coastal land rises towards the country's mountainous interior. The highest peaks are Aitana (1,557 m) and Puig Campana (1,407 m). Vantage points, mountains and wildlife parks attract tourists from the coast to day trips into the hinterland.

Water Supply
The growth in tourism also increased the demand for water. The quantity of water used depends on the type of accommodation: a tourist on a camping site uses about 120 litres per day, in a 2-star hotel it is approximately 190 litres, on a finca with swimming pool and garden it is 590 litres. Golf courses also need large quantities of water.
The majority of the rivers in the region have an irregular flow regime. While they carry a lot of water after the autumn and winter rainfalls, in the summer – the main tourist season – they are often dry.
Marina Baja has two relatively small reservoirs: Guadelest, which holds water from the north-western zone of the region, and the Amadorio reservoir, which receives its water from the south-western zone. Originally built for irrigation purposes, today the reservoirs mainly serve to supply the holiday resorts. A system of pipes connects the dams with the cities on the coast. In Benidorm there are six kilometres of water pipes for each square kilometre; in Alfaz del Pi there are eight.
Because of the heavy fluctuations in the flow regime, groundwater has also been used for water supply since the 1970s. The region has two bodies of groundwater, the Beniardá and the Algar groundwater bodies. The Beniardá groundwater body is situated above the Guadalest reservoir and its water is fed into the reservoir with pumps. Algar is the most important groundwater body in the province of Alicante, and feeds various wells whose water is mainly used for irrigation. But some of the water is used to supply the coastal cities, and this is also stored in the Guadalest reservoir. Surplus water from the Algar-Guadalest system is fed into the Amadorio reservoir via the Canal Bajo de Algar. This canal was constructed for a volume of 1,500 litres per second, but now carries up to 6,000 litres per second.

Conflicts of Use
As well as tourism, agriculture in Marina Baja also requires large quantities of water. While the cities use the high-quality water that was originally intended for irrigation, some of the local farmers use processed urban waste water for irrigation purposes. The seasonal fluctuations in the flow regime of the rivers, the limited quantities of river and groundwater available, and the increasing demand for water, lead to conflicts of use between agriculture and tourism.
H. Kiegel; Ü: J. Attfield


Keywords: agriculture canal coast conflict of use Costa Blanca Mediterranean Sea reservoir Spain tourism waste water water supply

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