Swimming pools under the spotlight. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


Environmental group GOB Mallorca is calling for a ban on the construction of swimming pools on rural land and in urban areas for private use as a “preventive” measure to deal with the drought, as they claim that the emergency situation in Catalonia “will reach” the Balearics.

The spokeswoman for the group, Margalida Ramis, has said that the drought situation currently facing Catalonia “means that measures have to be taken in anticipation of reaching this situation in the Balearics”.

Water reserves in the Balearics stand at 54 percent, according to the latest data from December 2023 provided by the Regional Ministry of the Sea and Water Cycle and more than 83.3 percent of the region is on a pre-alert situation.
Ramis said that “more or less” the water reserves are fine in Mallorca but not in Formentera, noting that each island’s situation is different.

For this reason, and taking into account the emergency situations in Catalonia and Andalusia - which have basins below 20 percent capacity - she believes that precautionary measures should be taken in the Balearics.

With regard to restrictions, GOB regrets that in other territories “very clear” restrictions are proposed for domestic or agricultural uses, while “voluntary restrictions” for the tourism sector are left up in the air.

According to Ramis if precautionary measures are not taken in the face of a possible drought, emergency restrictions will have to be adopted - as is the case in Catalonia - which will apply to private individuals and the agricultural sector, but not to tourism.

GOB points out that the Balearics’ economic model, which is dependent on tourism, means that the islands double their population during the tourist season so when it comes to water resources, this increase in population has a “fundamental” impact.

Related news

However, she warns that the impact on the Balearics’ water resources is not only due to tourists arriving in summer, but also to the construction model linked to holiday rentals, which “in recent years has expanded enormously”.

For this reason, the ecologists believe it is necessary to prohibit the construction of villas with swimming pools on rural land or single-family houses in urban environments.

“You can’t let all the swimming pools be built and then, when the drought comes, put restrictive measures in place,” says the GOB spokeswoman.
Ramis regrets that the policies proposed by the government “are not along these lines” and insists on the need to adopt preventive measures “that should already be focused on the prohibition of indiscriminate swimming pools”.

GOB proposes restrictive initiatives in quantitative terms, both in the tourism and construction sectors.
“It is necessary to address root issues - such as tourist licences and construction - in order to achieve a model that requires fewer water resources,” concludes Ramis.

The government points out that the situation of water resources on the islands is pre-alert and, for the time being, it is not considering adopting restrictive measures.

The minister for the Sea and Water Cycle, Juan Manuel Lafuente, in an interview with Europa Press, acknowledges that the situation is not “optimal”, given that water reserves should be higher.

The minister also differentiates between the Balearic scenario and those of Catalonia and Andalusia and points out that his department is currently “monitoring the situation very specifically to see how it evolves”.

Last week, Catalonia declared a drought emergency in Barcelona and its metropolitan area and in Girona and the surrounding area due to the situation of the reservoirs that supply these areas due to the lack of rainfall.
It also restricted the filling of swimming pools in hotels, campsites and water parks.