Agriculture in the Balearic Islands presents a 60-million-euro General Plan of Reclaimed Water for agricultural irrigation with 6 new infrastructures

Feb 14, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

Fernández: “It is an ambitious plan that will increase the storage capacity of reclaimed water by 33% and increase the use of this water for agricultural use from 42% to 60%”.

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Agriculture in the Balearic Islands

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food presented the General Plan for the Use and Optimisation of Regenerated Water for irrigation in the Balearic Islands on Monday. It is a 60-million-euro plan that encompasses up to 18 projects throughout the islands, which are scheduled to be implemented between 2023 and 2027, in line with the National Hydrological Plan and the Hydrological Plan of the Balearic Islands.

The director general of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, Fernando Fernández, said that “this is an ambitious plan, after the effort made by this legislature to bring the existing infrastructure up to speed, with a twofold objective: on the one hand, to increase the storage capacity of reclaimed water by 33% and to go from 42% in the use of reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation to 60% in 2027”. “In a context of climate change, we have to replace conventional sources of water with non-conventional ones such as reclaimed water, since water is essential to produce food, it is a strategic issue to increase food sovereignty and to have more local produce,” he stressed.

The plan, which is now in the public information period, contains 18 investment projects, six of which are new infrastructures in Mallorca and Menorca. The rest of the projects consist of the consolidation and modernisation of existing infrastructures.

By islands, the eight projects planned in Mallorca total 45 million euros; the two in Menorca, 7.75 million euros; the one in Eivissa, 2 million euros, and the one in Formentera, 1.26 million euros. To these must be added 5 more projects involving actions on all the islands, which would total 4.55 million more.

The plan also includes 8 programmes of action such as investment in infrastructure, operation and maintenance of infrastructure, consolidation and modernisation of existing irrigation, the programme of advice and training, the promotion of research and innovation, the compensatory actions of water quality, actions to promote energy efficiency and environmental actions and restoration of the environments of the ponds. It also includes 9 economic, 6 environmental and 2 social objectives.

Some 13,000 hectares are irrigated in the Balearic Islands, of which only 3,604 are currently irrigated with reclaimed water. The situation of the aquifers in the Balearic Islands, which are already overexploited on some islands, and the competitiveness of irrigated farms, for which water is vital to their cost structure, make it necessary to continue with the actions carried out to improve irrigation for the future.

This Monday morning, the director general inaugurated the first working day of the irrigation communities of the Balearic Islands, which analysed the plan and the needs of these public law authorities that are responsible for managing regenerated water. There are more than 30 irrigation communities in the Balearic Islands, although some, the director general explained, “are in a situation of organisational weakness, but they are essential, and we are working to strengthen them”. The conference was also attended by representatives of agricultural organisations.