A bit more chlorine in the water. | Jaume Morey

The Emaya municipal services agency in Palma has increased the quantity of chlorine in tap water in accordance with coronavirus recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).

This will mean there being 0.5 parts per million (ppm) of chlorine and a pH (power of hydrogen) of 8. Emaya explains that this entails an addition of between 0.1 and 0.2 ppm of chlorine; this is within regulated levels. The pH of the water that is required will be complied with and so this has needed an increase from the current 0.3 to 0.4 ppm of chlorine. This is based on WHO guidelines. Despite there being no risk of contagion from tap water, the agency is following expert advice.

The president of Emaya, councillor Ramon Perpinyà, says that the chlorination of water is in any event subject to modification. It changes throughout the year within regulated parameters. The concentration of chlorine in winter is lower, while in summer it increases a little for health and safety reasons. He notes, therefore, that it is not usual to be making an adjustment at this time of the year and bringing the chlorine level up to slightly below what it would be in summer. "This is a WHO recommendation because of the pandemic, something that has never happened. We have never been presented with these circumstances before."

It is possible that consumers will have detected a change in the taste of water from the tap, but Emaya stresses that the water is perfectly safe. The chlorine taste is reduced by letting water stand before drinking it.

Aside from the current crisis, the town hall has a policy of improving the taste of tap water. A project is under way for the ultrafiltration treatment of water from springs. This is due to be operational by summer 2021. At present, the average annual consumption of bottled water per resident is 175 litres.