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AfricaMoney | August 22, 2017

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Mauritius to grow sustainably on tourism; conserve water reserves

Mauritius to grow sustainably on tourism; conserve water reserves

The island economy has been cautioned that water reserves are fast diminishing and should be used in a sustainable manner. (Image: Flickr)

The quest for sustainable tourism development is more than ever a matter of necessity than a choice for survival in the global market place, said Mauritius Tourism Minister Michael Sik Yuen, at the inauguration of an awareness workshop on sustainable tourism today.

“It is imperative for tourism policy makers and tourism operators to position the fight against climate change at the heart of their tourism agenda, underscoring the need for greater responsibility from the sector,” he added.

In his address the Minister emphasized that Mauritius is at the threshold of a new era where all economic fundamentals are being challenged and climate change is redefining the mode of operation and production.

The Minister outlined the need for urgent action at global, regional, national and enterprise level to move to a low carbon growth path and avert climate change crisis.

For his part, the Executive Chairman of the Maurice Ile Durable Commission, Osman Mahomed, noted that greening the tourism industry will go a long way in allowing the country to move forward to achieve clearly set targets, be it in terms of resource efficiency and cleaner production and consumption.

The workshop brought together stakeholders of the tourism industry who, with the assistance of the Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB), have developed an Eco Label for sustainable tourism in Mauritius.

The MSB took inspiration from EcoMark and the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, taking into account local specifications and context.

The overriding objective of the workshop is to provide a structured framework for managing an organisation’s environmental impacts, particularly waste, emissions, energy use, transport and consumption level.

Meanwhile, in a related development on Mauritius ecological footprint, the island economy has been cautioned that water reserves are fast diminishing and should be used in a sustainable manner.

Accordingly, Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister, Dr Rashid Beebeejaun, called upon the population to make judicious use of water.

It may be noted that 50% of water in Mauritius is obtained from boreholes, 30% from reservoirs and 20% from rivers.

During a press statement made yesterday in Port Louis, Dr Beebeejaun announced that, on the occasion of Diwali festival celebrations, the Central Water Authority (CWA) will increase the hours of water supply where possible by one hour daily to the consumers as from this weekend. He stated that around 70% of the population receives water on a 24-hour basis, while the remaining 30% get water at specific hours.

Figures from the Water Resources Unit on the prevailing situation in Mauritius show that the water level at Mare aux Vacoas as at 13 October 2014 is 69.1%; La Nicolière 50.4%; Piton du Milieu 68.6%; La Ferme 39%; Mare Longue 56.4%; and Midlands 67.4%.

As regards ground water, there are signs that storage has gradually started to deplete. The yield at Holyrood borehole and Pierrefonds tunnel has registered a decrease of 40% and 49% respectively.

The CWA is closely monitoring the water levels in the boreholes island-wide and should there be marked decrease, the yield of the borehole will be reduced accordingly.

Finally, the Meteorological Services outlined that during September, the mean rainfall over Mauritius from 1st to 30 September 2014 was 54 mm while the long term mean (1971-2000) for the month was 81 mm, representing only 67% of the usual rainfall has been received in September 2014.

This sends out further warning signals to the population to conserve groundwater, as rainfall is playing truant for the time being.

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