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Riviera Maya hotels using reverse osmosis for water supply

Riviera Maya, Q.R. – Due to lack of infrastructure and high water usage, more and more local hotels are turning to reverse osmosis for their water supply.

In order to provide tourists with the thousands of liters of water that an average hotel needs per room, lodging centers in Riviera Maya and Puerto Morelos are opting for the desalination of sea water through reverse osmosis.

Alejandro Vargas Calápiz, director general of Grupo ACF, explained that desalinizing sea water is the option many of the Riviera Maya hotels are choosing.

“The lack of potable water infrastructure and costs are the main reasons that hoteliers have to use this system.”

He says that approximately 40 percent of Riviera Maya hotels use desalination sea water by reverse osmosis. In Cancun, fewer hotels use this method because they have a better water supply in place, however, some are migrating toward the reverse osmosis process for improved water quality and economic purposes.

Each day, it is estimated that a hotel room of four guests will use 1,000 liters of water. A hotel with 500 rooms will require 500,000 liters of water per day just to accommodate guests in their rooms.

“It’s a high volume of water because people are accustomed to using more water when they go on vacation because they take longer showers or hot baths, so it’s important to reuse sea water,” explained Vargas Calápiz.

Reverse osmosis is a water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, molecules and larger particles from drinking water. Reverse osmosis can remove many types of dissolved and suspended species from water including bacteria, and is used in both industrial processes and the production of potable water. The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and the pure solvent is allowed to pass to the other side.

Vargas Calápiz pointed out that the use of this technology is significant for the hotel industry as it generates water for 10 pesos per 1,000 liters, against the 20 pesos it costs if the service is provided by the municipality.