Banyalbufar and other Tramuntana municipalities are experiencing particular difficulties with water resources. | Lola Olmo


While there has been talk of Majorca already being on drought alert, this isn't actually the case. The distinction may not be great, but the island in on pre-alert, meaning that measures to deal with the water shortage are not as yet as tough as they might have to become. This said, various municipalities have already introduced certain measures, such as restrictions on watering gardens by drawing water from the public network.

Reserves of water are at present 47% of total capacity. There has been a fall of three per cent in these reserves since the middle of May, arousing concerns that the drought alert could be triggered at some point this summer. The low capacity is a reflection of the fact that rainfall so far this year across the Balearics has been 18% less than normal. In addition, last autumn was exceptionally dry. Majorca is the island which has experienced the greatest rainfall deficit: 20% less than usual.

The situation isn't as bad as it might have been, thanks to the supply of desalinated water. This, though, required a good deal of work to activate supply lines at the Alcudia and Andratx plants, the latter of which had never been used before this year. In Palma, additional lines have been established.

Many town halls in Majorca have launched awareness campaigns aimed at responsible water consumption, but only five - Banyalbufar, Binissalem, Estellencs, Selva and Valldemossa - have as yet introduced restrictions.

It is acknowledged that municipalities in the Tramuntana are faced with greater challenges than others. It is for this reason that the El Pi party has proposed that some tourist tax revenue should go towards boosting water supplies in an area of great tourist interest, especially because the mountains are a World Heritage Site.

As reported in the Bulletin on Tuesday, Banyalbufar is having bigger problems than others, and at a press conference with the leader of El Pi, one-time Balearic environment minister Jaume Font, the mayor, Mateu Ferrà, said that the shortage of water conveys a very bad image of the municipality. Ferrà added that 10% of the annual budget has gone on the purchase and transportation of water, with the cost being anything up to ten times more than the average price for a cubic metre of water.