The reservoirs aren't at anything like their maximum capacity. | MDB archive


The reservoirs are currently back down to 33% of their capacity, having been at 100% earlier this year after the heavy rains of December and January. Since then, however, there hasn't been a great deal of rain, so the capacity has dropped markedly.

The Palma Emaya municipal services agency, which operates the Cuber and Gorg Blau reservoirs, has been gradually cutting back the amount of water taken. If there isn't significant rain in the next fortnight, the capacity will fall further to 30%, and Emaya will switch off supplies from the reservoirs.

Drought is a constant concern, and wells and aquifers are affected just as much as reservoirs are by a lack of rain. Because of the high demand over the summer months, Emaya took the precaution of starting to buy in desalinated water in May. It has continued to buy it, and rainfall over the winter will determine how much desalinated water (if any) will have to be purchased.

The maximum supply from the reservoirs this year has been 500 litres per second. The reduction which has already commenced is being offset by water from wells and from desalination plants. Emaya pays the government water agency for the desalinated water. As yet, no decision has been taken as to whether it will need to pay more in 2018.

In October, a typical day's supply of water for the city was 30% from the reservoirs; 59% from wells in the north and south of the island; seven per cent desalinated; and four per cent from springs.