The Playa de Palma desalination plant.


Despite the lack of rain in autumn and now this winter, water supplies to Palma are totally guaranteed, the town hall having taken precautionary measures, such as the buying in of desalinated water at a cost of 5.7 million euros.

The councillor for the environment, Neus Truyol, recognises the need to adjust management and consumption policies on account of what was a very dry 2015 and of the possibility that there will not be sufficient rainfall over the next months. The town hall is not planning on using all the water from the Tramuntana reservoirs, where the capacity is currently down to 28%. In addition, it is adopting a drought plan, as are other municipalities, which will include awareness-raising regarding water consumption.

The desalinated supply, which comes from the regional government's water agency, Abaqua, will be used according to needs. These will depend on the weather, while demands during the high season are also being taken into account.

The annual budget for water purchasing is three million euros, but this will have to be exceeded. The town hall also, via its Emaya public services agency, pays Abaqua an annual 3.5 million euros retainer in order to be able to draw on desalinated supply, if the need arises. The volume of water that will be drawn on will be determined on a month-by-month basis, depending upon the status of other sources, most obviously the reservoirs.

The first meeting between government and municipalities to address the drought plan will be held on 4 February. Actions that might need to be taken will be determined by phases that each municipality experiences, ranging from pre-alarm to alarm and ultimately emergency. Pre-alarm status in Palma is to be established by an audit of water management.

Within the city's plan will be one for the use of recycled water, in particular for cleaning and also for crop irrigation. As far as awareness is concerned, Truyol is emphasising the need for there to be collective responsibility by the public and private sectors as well as by the general public.

Water rates are to stay as they are, Truyol adds, though for forthcoming years they may need to be revised, again depending on the situation with supply.