Water level down at the Gorg Blau reservoir. | P. Pellicer

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Rain has been virtually non-existent in Majorca this month. Supplies are, for the time being, guaranteed, but public authorities and farmers are becoming increasingly concerned at the lack of rain, the meteorological agency having announced last week that autumn precipitation was 20% lower than usual, with December having been almost completely without rain.

This situation is reflected in the current capacities of the two giant reservoirs in the Tramuntana - Cuber and Gorg Blau. Between the two of them, they have only 29% of total capacity at present. This can be compared with December last year, when the capacity was almost double: 55%.

Councillor Neus Truyol, the president of the Palma public services agency, Emaya, says that the situation is worrying but that it is for now manageable. (The reservoirs supply Palma.) She adds that the situation is indicative of the threat posed by climate change, albeit stressing that there is officially no drought being declared.

The government's director of water resources, Juana Mariá Garau, is also talking in terms of these resources being scarce. Underground aquifers are present at 55%, but Garau points out that it is necessary to start making the public aware that, in this regard, the quality of water might be affected. With water in the Tramuntana and the south of the island at the low levels that it is, then it can become sulphated. In the Pla region of the island (from Santa Margalida and Muro in the north to Porreres towards the south), the risk is of high levels of nitrates forming.

In the farming sector, there is talk of an "orange" warning because of the risks. The head of the Asaja agriculture businesses association, Joan Simonet, recognises that if it doesn't start to rain, then farmers are going to be seriously affected. Crops were sown in October, and then in November there was not a great deal of rain. They began to grow, nevertheless, but the continuing lack of rain and higher temperatures than normal mean that oats and barley will not be developing as they should. If the crops fail, then farmers will need to buy food for their herds. He hopes, therefore, that the government is making provision in the case that the dry conditions continue.