Many of us travel abroad on holidays, and while we marvel at affordable flights to popular destinations, we often overlook the cost of our water usage, both while travelling and during our stay. Next time you’re taking that dream trip overseas, think about the impact your water usage has while travelling.

Where the water runs dry

80% of Bali’s economy depends on tourism, yet the catch-22 is the tourists using 65% of the island’s water resources. So how much water does a visitor to Bali use?


Flying from Sydney to Bali and return amounts to 279,867L of water used, which means we use 560L of water per person on average when we travel to Indonesia. That’s enough water to fill a plunge pool or put out a small bushfire!

Accommodation and activities

After we get to our hotel, we continue to use plenty of water. In 2015, Bali had approximately 28,800 rated hotel rooms; of those, the five star-rated ones used 4,000L of water per day, while one-star rooms used 1,000L. If we were to hypothetically spend a week in three-star accommodation, we’d use around 2,500L of water per day or around 17,500L during the length of our stay.

Bali is famous for its year-long humid weather, with annual temperatures of 27 degrees and 60% average humidity. So naturally many of us will jump in the hotel pool to cool off. What few of us don’t realise however is that an average Balinese swimming pool loses nearly 10 litres of water per hour to evaporation. And if you’re into golf and were to hit up one of the island’s world-class driving ranges, your average share of golf course-related water usage would be 116L per day.

Traveller's Water Usage Infographic

Dining out

Everywhere around the world, people use water to cook food and Bali’s large variety of hotel kitchens are no exception, using an enormous 14.3 billion litres of water to feed visitors on a weekly basis. This means your all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet will use 790L of water; lunch will use 1,540L and dinner another 1,499L. This adds up to 3,829L per day or 26,803L a week.

Bottled water

As we’ve already mentioned, Bali gets pretty hot during the day, which means visitors would drink bottled water to stay hydrated, as Balinese tap water can be bad for your stomach. Let’s say you drink five 500ml water bottles per day; multiply that by 7 and you get 17.5 litres in a week.

“That’s not that much water to drink” you might say, but if you think a bit bigger for a second, all Bali visitors combined drink 77.8 million litres during an average three-day stay. And that’s plenty of water to quench a thirst, especially when it comes to an overall total of 45,030L of water to cater to your basic needs during a week-long Balinese holiday. In the end however, no matter the amount of water you’re using, safety is the most important aspect to focus on when travelling. On top of this, showing respect to the country you’re staying in is also something to remember.

Actionable tips to limit your water consumption on holidays

  • Bottle your own water for the plane trip – this saves you money and water
  • Don’t waste water! Take shorter showers and try to limit drinking water if you can
  • Are you travelling to Bali in the near future? Make sure you are covered with travel insurance before you leave in case you get ill from accidentally drinking non-purified water.

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