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More than half of Ibiza’s groundwater deposits are overexploited

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Home / News / More than half of Ibiza’s groundwater deposits are overexploited
More than half of Ibiza’s groundwater deposits are overexploited

2022 IbizaPreservation Sustainability Observatory report reveals slight improvement in last decade, but situation remains critical

Ibiza, 23-03-22 – In 2022, of the 16 groundwater deposits on the island of Ibiza, only 7 were in a good quantitative state according to data analysed by the IbizaPreservation Sustainability Observatory in its 2022 Sustainability Report, based on information from the current Balearic Islands Hydrological Plan. The 7 are Portinatx, Port de San Miguel, San Agustín, Santa Eulalia, San Lorenzo, Es Figueral and Jesús. Of the 9 remaining water deposits, 8 were overexploited (Santa Inés, San Antonio, Cala Llonga, Roca Llisa, Cala Tarida, Porroig, Santa Gertrudis, and Serra Grossa) and 1 is at risk of being so (Es Canar).

The Sustainability Observatory, a strategic project of IbizaPreservation, publicised this data as part of the commemoration of the World Water Day this week. The data was gathered and analysed with the support of the Consell of Ibiza.  The deadline of the European Water Framework Directive is to achieve the good status of all water deposits (except for those subject to exemption for justified reasons) in 2027, coinciding with the end of the third planning cycle.

The overexploitation detailed in the 2022 report (currently in production) refers to the quantitative state of groundwater and is determined by criteria based on the inflows and outflows of water, as well as the evolution of piezometric levels and the amount of chlorides – indicators of the possible entry of seawater into the groundwater. The quantitative status is deemed ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘at risk’ depending on the results of the criteria applied.

An analysis of this situation shows that in 2012, 63% of the 16 underground water deposits on Ibiza were in a poor quantitative state. Ten years later, in 2022, this percentage fell to 50%, reflecting some improvement as the number of deposits in poor quantitative condition went from 10 to 8. The two water aquifers that have substantially improved are Es Canar and Portinatx. In the case of the latter, this improvement is significant, going from overexploitation of 104.16% in 2015 to 49.87%, in 2022. This coincides with the beginning of the use of desalinated water in the municipality.

According to Itziar Arratibel, technical coordinator of the Sustainability Observatory, “This evolution is of great significance as it demonstrates the need for and importance of implementing a good desalinated water distribution system on the island to reduce extraction and exploitation levels of the water deposits, thus allowing their regeneration. Even so, we must not forget that the reduction of and efficiency in water consumption must be a priority.”

At the same time, there was slight improvement in some groundwater deposits, such as Santa Inés, San Antonio, Cala Llonga, Cala Tarida, Porroig and Serra Grossa, although, the Sustainability Observatory emphasised that this is not enough, as each one remains in a poor quantitative state.

Currently the most exploited deposits are Serra Grossa (133.59%), Porroig (126.79%) and Roca Llisa (127.41%). The latter, along with that of Santa Gertrudis (144.37%), are not only in poor condition, but have also registered an increase in exploitation since 2015: 5.5% in the case of Roca Llisa and 4.5% in the case of Santa Gertrudis. In addition, both have registered a constant increase in the level of chlorides present in the water.

“As a member of the Ibiza and Formentera Water Alliance, we at IbizaPreservation share and want to emphasise the call to arms launched by the Alliance within the framework of World Water Day,” said the director of the Foundation, Inma Saranova, who took advantage of the event to praise the role of the Alliance: “It is essential to put all necessary efforts into the conservation of groundwater and we want to thank the Ibiza and Formentera Water Alliance for the enormous work it does in collecting data on water resources and the state of the water in Ibiza and Formentera.  Without this it would not be possible to establish to what extent the situation improves or worsens over time and, therefore, in knowing where we should focus our efforts.”