NO sooner was a drought warning given to the Balearics at the start of the week, Minorca was yesterday declared to be in the grip of a moderate drought while water reserves in Majorca and Ibiza are starting to run low. The Bulletin reported on Tuesday that May was the driest since 1930 and the latest prediction is that this summer's drought could be far more severe than the five-year drought which gripped the country from 1990 to 1995. Many will remember Majorca shipping water from the mainland in a huge tanker in desperation and at vast costs to recover from the last drought to hit the region in 1997. Well now, the outlook is not looking too good according to the director of the Balearic met. office Agustín Jansá.
Rainfall in Minorca over the past 12 months has been 20 percent less than usual while in Majorca and Ibiza is deficits are 10 and 14 percent respectively. Jansá explained that, until April, the level of rainfall in the Balearics was perfectly normal but since then, there has been a severe lack of rain throwing Minorca into a moderate drought and draining Majorca and Ibiza's water reserves.
The met office boss added that the west of Minorca has been hit by the lack of rain far more than the east.
The ministry for agriculture has in fact been helping some 77 farmers in the west of Minorca since the end of last year when the first signs of a drought were detected. Since April, is has not rained as expected in the Balearics, Jansá said and the few showers registered last month were insignificant and very localised, he added. In the short term, the met office in Palma can not seed the situation improving. Summer in the Mediterranean is a very dry period and heavy rain in July and August is very unlikely, said Jansá.
However, he was quick to stress that the Balearic situation is not as dramatic as on the mainland where many areas have a 50 percent deficit of rain and are suffering severe drought conditions. That said, the lack of rain in the Balearics is taking its toll on water reserves although, for the moment at least, there is no need for water restrictions to be enforced.
According to the Ministry for Environment the current situation is manageable.
Environment ministry sources claim that, at the end of last month, Majorca's water reserves were running at 48 percent while in Minorca and Ibiza, the reserves are running at 47 and 51 percent respectively. During the last great drought between 1990 to 1995, from which the Balearics took years to recover, rainfall for October to May 1991-92 was higher than the rainfall level for October to May of this year - hence why alarm bells are ringing.
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