While the worst drought in the past 100 years to have hit the Balearics has eased, with water levels in the region nearly double that of this time last year, the Balearic Environment Minister, Margalida Rosselló (above), said yesterday that rainfall is still below the norm and that the water levels are still low. The Minister said yesterday, International Water Day, that special filter containers and systems have been distributed to key consumers in government, enabling them to save as much as 50 per cent of water usually consumed. Rossello said that a number of studies into water consumption have been carried out in the Balearics, including hotels, hospitals, prisons and Palma airport and the difference in water consumption ranges from 100 litres to 300 litres per person per day. The Minister said that the best solution is to save water and she said that now the level of the natural resources in the Balearics is starting to recover and the crisis over, the water issue can be looked at in a more long-term and progressive manner. It was also revealed yesterday that global investment in desalination plants will hit $20 billion over the next five years as the world tries to quench its growing thirst for water. The Balearic government has recently agreed for a new plant to be built in Majorca. By 2025, three billion people in 48 countries around the world will face water shortages, a jump from 500 million in 1995, figures from Population Action International show. Annual global demand for water is growing by between five and 10 percent. Currently, 13'600 desalination units across 120 countries produce 26 million cubic metres of fresh water each day. And while the cost of producing desalinated water will always be higher than purifying fresh water, the gap is narrowing as it becomes more expensive to purify fresh water.

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