Camping on Öland switched to seawater pools

  • Case studie
  • Urban planning

Climate change may lead to a warmer climate and a reduced water supply on Öland. Water is already a commodity in short supply on the island, and water restrictions were introduced in the spring of 2016. The filling of swimming pools with municipal water was prohibited, which led to that Saxnäs Camping developed a concept where sea water was brought in to its swimming pools.

In the future, water shortages may become more and more common on Öland. A changed climate can lead to poorer access to water, not only as a consequence of higher temperatures, but also due to increased extraction as a consequence of increased tourism, for example, if the Mediterranean region gets a hotter summer resulting in that tourists look for places to go further north.

The poolarea with seawater at Saxnäs Camping, Öland.
The poolarea with seawater at Saxnäs Camping, Öland. Foto Saxnäs Camping

The water restrictions led to creativity

During spring 2016, water restrictions were imposed with a ban on watering in Mörbylånga Municipality due to excessively low groundwater levels. This meant, among other things, that it was prohibited to use municipal water to water gardens, wash cars, or fill swimming pools. There are many things that attract people to Saxnäs Camping, its swimming pool among them. The anxiety with the crisis with groundwater and what empty swimming pools would mean for the number of visitors set the wheels in motion and an old idea of filling the pools with sea water was developed to fruition.

Green light for a seawater swimming pool

After receiving the green light from the Municipality, a well pump was installed in order to pump up the sea water to the pool facility. In the existing pool equipment shed, a water pressure control (a hydropress) was installed; the remaining equipment could be used as previously. Sampling from the poolwater showed acceptable values and no damage to the pool facility was found after the first season. Guests found it more enjoyable to swim in the pools after the change of water.

Other water-saving measures

The campgrounds also introduced other water-saving measures, such as low-flow showers, faucets and toilets, as well as a ban on washing cars and caravans.

The costs and savings

The costs for the project amounted to approx. SEK 227,000, but the investment also resulted in significant savings for the campgrounds. Some SEK 60,000 per year is saved via reduced costs for water.

More examples of climate adaptation

This is one of many examples of climate adaptation. There are more in the collection of ideas being built up by the Swedish National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). The collection of examples has the aim of sharing experiences and providing ideas to everyone who works with climate adaptation. Examples describe concrete measures and challenges in several subject areas. They show how different actors have worked to adapt their activities to the climate changes that are already being noticed today and those that we cannot prevent in the future.