Reservoirs and aquifers are at much reduced capacities.

20-01-2016Miquel A. Cañellas

Like the reservoirs, the aquifers on the islands are being affected by the lack of rain. At present, they are at 53% of capacity in Majorca, which is five per cent lower than in what was also considered a dry year, 2014.

Because of this, the regional ministry for the environment and agriculture will be working together with town halls in order manage demand, reduce consumption and make the public aware of the need to save water.

Underground water provides 85% of Majorca's needs, but it is already the case that some supply problems are emerging. These are occurring in municipalities in the Tramuntana mountains, with water shortage and poor water quality the consequence of the state of reservoirs and the presence of sulphates. The ministry notes, fairly obviously, that if it doesn't rain in the next few months, there will be problems getting through the main tourism season.

The water resources department at the ministry adds that the current situation is linked to the low rainfall in 2014. This meant that the aquifers didn't recover their usual levels during autumn and winter. The situation has, therefore, been aggravated by the virtual absence of rainfall at the end of last year as well as by a high level of tourist occupancy that places increased demand for water.

To combat the drought situation, alternatives will need to be looked at, such as desalination. However, although underground capacity is some 16% lower than at its greatest in the past five years, it is being noted that in both 2005 and 2006 this capacity was lower still.

Away from Majorca, the situations in Ibiza and Formentera are worse. Water resources for the latter are said to be very limited, while in Ibiza there has been hydrological drought for two years because of lack of rain and an historical absence of water resource management.

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