Water Crisis Declared in Tenerife

The full assembly of the Cabildo of Tenerife has given the green light to an official resolution this Friday, declaring a water crisis on the island. The resolution urges the Tenerife Island Water Council (CIATF) to take the necessary steps, following unanimous approval due to the confirmation of “an exceptional and prolonged drought in the central regions.”

The CIATF, as the governing body, is set to convene on Tuesday to discuss the water crisis declaration and to assess and implement measures in collaboration with Balsas de Tenerife (Balten) to “ensure” water supply for the population and agricultural sector. This includes preventive measures to prevent network losses and promote the efficient use of water.

The official resolution, supported by all political parties represented in the Council, calls on the Insular Water Council to process the water crisis declaration and execute emergency plans.

In addition, it requests the said island council, BALTEN, and the municipalities to study and implement measures to ensure water supply to the population and agriculture, aiming to achieve the necessary water flows for farming and to preserve hygiene and domestic water uses.

Furthermore, the resolution calls for the development and implementation of preventive measures to reduce network losses and promote water efficiency in coordination with other authorities, agencies, or organisations.

It is also proposed to undertake emergency water works for rural areas before initiating the appropriate emergency procedures, with the responsibility falling on the Island Council of Tenerife.

President of the Cabildo of Tenerife, Rosa Dávila, emphasised that the water supply measures, both preventive and those outlined in the declaration, must adhere to the preference and priority criteria for uses and requirements specified in the Canary Islands Water Law and the island’s hydrological plans.

While the emergency works promoted by this resolution are underway, portable desalination plants will be installed in specific areas as immediate actions. Simultaneously, awareness campaigns on water conservation will be conducted by the Island Council and Department of Agriculture.

The resolution also entails the establishment of the island drought committee, comprising representatives from the island government, opposition, agricultural sector, and relevant authorities.

It is further proposed that CIATF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, launches informational campaigns targeting tourists and the local populace to emphasise the responsible use of water resources.

According to the ruling party, the resolution to declare a water crisis is supported by technical data highlighting the effects of “warm thermal anomalies and the lack of rainfall in recent years.”

It also includes findings from a Balten report on the current scenario, indicating that Tenerife is facing an “exceptional and long-lasting drought.”Challenges in the Midlands Regarding Water Resources

The accepted resolution indicates that there has been a reduction in rainfall at all the monitored stations, ranging from 15% to 40%, while evapotranspiration has seen an increase, particularly in the midlands, ranging from 10% to 25%, in correlation with the rise in average temperature and solar radiation.

According to the Cabildo, these circumstances have led to an increase in water supply for crops as precipitation has decreased by approximately 15% to 30%.

By February 1, 2024, after a significant portion of the typical rainy season had passed, the BALTEN reservoirs were only at 34.6% capacity, a level significantly lower compared to the same period in the previous year, which stood at 52%.

The governing body highlights that the ongoing situations are jeopardising the continuity of existing crops across a substantial portion of the island’s agricultural land, particularly in the midlands.

Official data indicates a “critical” risk of water scarcity in the upcoming months, underscoring the necessity for prompt and effective measures to address this pressing issue.

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