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Environment

Remote Japanese island resort taps ocean for drinking water

Hoshino Resorts aims to lure eco-conscious guests by ditching plastic bottles

Taketomi Island has a limited supply of potable water. The Hoshino Resorts property will use desalination to produce its own for guests.

TOKYO -- Hoshino Resorts will produce drinking water by desalination at its property on a remote Okinawan island beginning Saturday, dispensing with the need to provide plastic bottles of water in guest rooms.

The Japanese hospitality company hopes to attract environmentally conscious tourists by highlighting its shift away from plastic.

Equipment at Hoshinoya Taketomi Island will make about 60 tons of potable water daily from seawater using a special membrane.

Residents of Taketomi Island receive their water from Ishigaki Island, about 5 km away, via undersea pipes. Because this supply is limited, the resort has provided roughly 40,000 plastic water bottles annually to guests to reduce the impact on residents.

As a companywide policy, Hoshino Resorts has been phasing out plastic water bottles in guest rooms to protect the environment, but it could not do so at Taketomi Island because of the limited water supply there.

The new equipment also will adjust water temperature using heat pumps, letting the resort cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by 35 tons compared with conventional equipment.

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