Both entities lament the situation and stress the need to improve water use and management
Ibiza, 09-09-22 – Six months ago on World Water Day, the Water Alliance for Ibiza and Formentera, together with IbizaPreservation’s Sustainability Observatory, marked the end of Ibiza’s drought pre-alert by issuing a warning about the fragile situation of the island’s water resources. After nearly 18 months of drought warning, both organisations stressed that drought was a structural problem that would continue to occur year after year and that would most likely return by the end of the summer season.
Unfortunately, this prediction was correct. Drought began to hit the peninsula and the Balearic Islands some weeks ago and its effects are already beginning to be felt. In the case of the Balearic Islands, two municipalities in Mallorca, Deià and Artà, have started to apply water restrictions on water use and have called for water consumption to be moderated.
In view of this situation, the Water Alliance and IbizaPreservation have pointed to the Special Action Plan for Situations of Alert and Possible Drought in the Balearic Islands, which establishes measures to be applied in drought warnings, in tandem with municipal Sustainable Water Management Plans.
“Over the last eight years, the island has had few periods of normality in terms of its water availability,” stated Inés Roig, a technician with the Alliance. In fact, its analysis of data on the hydrological drought index for the annual report of the Sustainability Observatory reveals that in 2018, 2019 and 2022 the drought warnings have come between August and September, coinciding with the summer season and, therefore, with a greater exploitation of underground resources due to the combination of greater human pressure and lower rainfall.
Both organisations point out that in Ibiza’s case, the island’s three desalination plants with a maximum production of 44,000 m3 should be sufficient to supply the entire population with quality water – even integrating part of the groundwater into the supply water if necessary – if investment were made in remote control and improvement of the networks.
“Moreover, if treated water were reused, we could have a continuous flow of water,” said Itziar Arratibel, the coordinator of the IbizaPreservation Sustainability Observatory. Inés Roig, from the Alliance, echoed this sentiement, saying, “Ibiza could be a very rich island in water if it were properly managed. The case of Sa Caleta reminds us that there is still work to be done to improve the integral water cycle and access to water.”
The two organisations stressed the need for the local community to work on becoming more resilient, combining new techniques and technologies with a return to traditional forms (such as the use of rainwater as a resource, choosing native plants adapted to survive in dry climates, the collection of water for irrigation, and respect for the landscape and the natural lines of the land). Such steps are deemed necessary in order to build a more resilient society, able to cope with the impact of water scarcity.