STA, 27 August - Due to a lack of rainfall mountain huts in Slovenia are experiencing water scarcity, including the highest hut Kredarica that sits below Mt Triglav, Slovenia's tallest peak. Currently, the hut only has water supplies for about ten days, and there has been a cap on bookings for some time.
The summer-season hut is situated right next to Slovenia's highest mountain weather station, sitting on a small plateau at 2,515 metres.
Kredarica can accommodate more than 300 guests, but due to a severe water shortage accommodation capacity has been halved. Mountaineers are urged not to seek lodgings without booking them first or to return to the valley the same day if they can, Herman Uranič, one of the Kredarica hut keepers, said on Thursday.
The water that climbers bring with them cannot solve the problem of water scarcity, he added, as water is also needed for washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. They are already using paper cups and, if necessary, they will switch to paper plates too. The keepers also save water by showering every ten days or so.
The last time it rained on Kredarica was about a week ago, a rare event in the past weeks that made Uranič laugh out of joy.
If water runs out, they can bring it to the hut, but this is quite costly, since the volume that would be required for a single day would cost EUR 5,000.
The hut is usually open from mid-June until the end of September. Visitor numbers this season are very good, with 20%-30% more visitors than in the same period last year, and an increase of nearly EUR 200,000 in turnover.
The visitors are mostly foreigners, who account for some 75%. Most of them are from Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and France. Slovenians tend to visit Kredarica and climb Mt Triglav over the weekends.
The water situation in other mountain huts in the vicinity of Mt Triglav, including Dom Planika and Koča na Doliču, is also critical, the Alpine Association of Slovenia warns, urging mountaineers and hikers to implement water-saving habits, including the use of wet wipes.
There are 161 mountain huts in Slovenia, of which 55 use rainwater reservoirs, the mountaineering organisation said. Of these, more than ten also use water tanker trucks where access makes this possible.
Most of the huts, about 45%, are located near mountain springs, some of them also combine this water source with the reservoirs. More than fifth of the huts are connected to the public water supply network.