25 MILLION CUBIC LITRES SHORT OF WATER

THE region's reservoirs are full with the Balearic water table and level of water in the wells having risen over the past two months, but the global condition of the region's water resources, according to the experts, is only “relatively” better. The January and February heavy rains topped up the water table in Majorca and Minorca by 54 per cent, in Ibiza by 60 per cent, and as a result of this year's rain, the desalination plant in Palma is currently redundant. Balearic Environment Minister Margalida Rossello said yesterday that over the past 12 months, the amount of rainfall in the region has been from 38% in Ibiza, to 60% in Majorca, above the norm. But consumers still have to be sensible. The Director General of Water Resources, Antoni Rodriguez, explained that overall rainfall for the past five years is still below the norm. Since the end of 1997, 10 per cent less rain has fallen in Palma and two per cent in LLuc for example. “Despite the optimism the heavy autumn and winter rains have brought, it's impossible to avert drought in the Mediterranean because the region swings from dry periods to periods of heavy rains,” Antoni Rodriguez said. While the level of water in the wells has risen, it is still well off previous levels and considerably short of having made a full recovery, hence consumers must continue being sensible, while the authorities will carefully manage water resources. Rodriguez said that, according to the Balearic Water Plan, the Balearics will continue to be 25 million cubic litres short of water per year until 2006.

Today the 43 members of the Balearic Water Council will meet to discuss the latest report and solutions to resolving the water deficit.
The council will also be studying four projects which have been drawn up by the Environment Ministry, including the setting up of a “water bank” and new measures which could be adopted to counter droughts.

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