The environment in the Balearic Islands asks municipalities to start taking measures in the face of a probable drought scenario this coming summer

Jan 22, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The councillor for the Environment and Territory, Miquel Mir, has called on municipalities to start preparing for a foreseeable scenario of drought this summer in the Balearic Islands. “It’s not a question of being catastrophists, but of being foresighted,” stressed Mir, who remarked that “we cannot say that we will suffer drought this summer, but the data is what it is, and the administrations have the obligation to anticipate situations that could harm the public”. In this regard, the councillor reminded the councillors that Water Resources is at the disposal of the local councils to identify the most appropriate management measures according to local realities.

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The environment in the Balearic Islands

Mir took part in the meeting convened by the Directorate General of Water Resources with the Federation of Local Authorities of the Balearic Islands (FELIB) to inform them of the latest data on the state of the aquifers. The water reserves of the archipelago are currently at 55% according to data from the Directorate General’s Studies and Planning Service. Although the figure represents an increase compared to the previous month, Mir wanted to warn the municipalities (competent bodies for water supply) that the last time similar levels were recorded in a month of December was in 2015. The water shortage prompted, then, the approval of Decree 34/2016, of 17 June, which declared the situation of extraordinary drought on the island of Eivissa and, subsequently, Decree 54/2017, of 15 September, which approved the Special Plan of Action in Situation of Alert and Eventual Drought of the Balearic Islands.

The Demand Units (DU) of greatest concern are those of Artà and Pla de Mallorca, which have been in a pre-alert drought scenario for 17 and 22 months, respectively. In this regard, the Director General of Water Resources, Joana Garau, has announced that she will soon convene a technical committee on drought with the affected municipalities to begin studying measures.

Garau also pointed out that there are still 36 municipalities that have not yet submitted their Sustainable Water Management Plan to the Regional Ministry. In this sense, he highlighted “the need to have these planning instruments approved for situations of scarcity”. She also pointed out that “in a climate emergency situation, we cannot leave the management of a crisis due to lack of supply to chance”.

The director general urged the municipalities to have finished reserve wells and the necessary infrastructures to avoid situations such as those of last summer when the increase in demand was so high that despite the availability of resources, supply could not be guaranteed in some places.

Mir, for his part, insisted on the need to reduce the percentage of losses in municipal networks. In this regard, he recalled that Water Resources has just awarded 2.3 million euros in NextGenerationEU funds to improve the supply to towns and villages. In addition, he recalled that the Regional Ministry promoted a call for proposals, with 20 million euros from the Sustainable Tourism Tax (ITS) fund for the same purpose. “The Government is working to make the necessary resources available to municipalities so that they can carry out the necessary improvements to optimise the availability of the resource,” said the councillor, who added that the ministry will continue to promote campaigns to raise awareness and encourage savings.