Water, a precious resource!

Water is in short supply. Let’s learn to make careful use of it!

I recently ate at Rifugio Cinque Torri and was very happy to note an intelligent initiative by the Associazione Rifugi Alpini del Veneto: an educational placemat reminding patrons how precious water is and inviting them to be wise in their use of it.

Water shortages are a serious and real problem requiring urgent action.
Water is a primary resource whose benefits should be available to all. Water is an inalienable right.
The climate is changing and, as the experts have been telling us for some time, this climate change is making its negative effects felt, in the Mediterranean in particular and including Italy, and will continue to do so. Storm Vaia, which caused massive damage, is a clear example of the power of climate change.

A further reason behind the water crisis is population increase, i.e. a larger world population.
There are also other reasons for water shortages such as the great water wastage involved in intensive farming. The fodder required by farm animals requires around 500 liters per kilo.

However, the scarcity of water is also a result of our collective excessive use, or rather, abuse of it.

We must be more self-aware and attempt to save this precious resource and avoid pointless waste.

Today, the scarcity of water is not confined to the plains; it has also become a noticeable issue in the mountains, where it was once unheard of. Many mountain hut managers find themselves grappling with this situation.

So don’t be surprised if you sometimes cannot fill up your flasks and try to understand the limited menu availability and the absence of fresh vegetables. If you stay overnight at a mountain hut, accept that you cannot wash as you would at home.

Where does mountain huts’ water come from?

  • springs;
  • glaciers;
  • rain;
  • runoff.

Recognizing its significance, managers of mountain huts must make thoughtful decisions regarding water usage in their daily operations and adjust it according to the changing seasons. This precious liquid serves for:

  • cooking;
  • washing dishes;
  • staff use;
  • personal use;
  • bathrooms;
  • showers;
  • cleaning;
  • clothes washing.

Average per capita use

  • staff: 75 L
  • patrons staying overnight: 40 L
  • patrons having lunch: 15 L
  • toilet use only: 8 L

Is that what you would have expected? It is a large volume of water.
Inspired by this placemat I decided to touch on this water issue, regarding a priceless resource which we often take for granted, a precious resource which we must accord the value it deserves. As water is in short supply, if you love the mountains don’t waste this indispensable asset!

Placemat. Water is in short supply.


Enrico Maioni Mountain Guide Dolomiti

Enrico Maioni

Certified Mountain Guide, with a wide know-how of the Dolomiti.
I was born in the heart of the Dolomites, where I live and work to this day.
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