THE lack of rain, the diminishing water reserves and a long hot summer predicted for this year, will not lead to drought problems in the Balearic Islands. This was confirmed yesterday by Balearic Minister for the Environment, Jaume Font, who said that there would be no drought problems in the Islands this summer, even though there had been little rain this winter. The water tables on the islands are at present 55 percent full, and this is thanks to the “good winter with mountains capped with snow”.
Water shortages always get worse in the summer months when an influx of tourists boosts water demands. However residents and tourists alike can rest assured that enough steps have been made to guarantee ample water supplies in the Balearic Islands, the minister said. Font was speaking at a press conference yesterday, where he presented the water investment plan which the Balearic Government is going to undertake this year. Asked about loss of water through leaky pipes, Font claimed that it was now less than 30 per cent. He also highlighted the fact that there is a plan to detect and sort out leak problems. This year 1.3 million euros will be granted to this plan, which is an 0.3 million euros increase from 2004.
He also explained that the Island Councils are obliged to provide 25 per cent of the funds for this programme, which will be increased to 1.6 million euros next year. The Island Councils are now waiting for their town councils to present plans for repairing leaks in the pipes and the leaks should be cut by half over the next six or seven years. Cristina Narbona, the central minister for the environment, was also confident that there would be no water shortages this summer, even though the situation on the Peninsula is worse than in the Balearics. She sent a message aimed at calming both residents and tourists, claiming that the steps taken by the government will be sufficient to cover consumption needs. But an opposition spokesman claimed that these measures were “too few and too late” and warned that some experts are questioning the guarantee of domestic supplies. He also said that the situation for farmers was “catastrophic.” However, while Narbona was firm in her claims that there would be sufficient supplies, at the same time she called on people to be responsible and use water carefully and efficiently. A change in habits in the home, she said, could lead to a saving of up to 30 per cent in daily consumption.