The lack of control over freshwater is affecting the Albufera. The protest excursion that took place last Sunday, in the cold, wind and downpours of rain, was aimed to explain the problem.
The Albufera consists of a wide water basin (more than 50 square kilometres) and historically the water was supplied from different sources throughout the year. However, the drilling of wells did not consider leaving even a drop for the natural environment. What is called the ecological flow does not exist and this problem is being taken very seriously.
The largest lagoon of Menorca, the “Parque Natural” (Nature Preserve) of the island, the crown of the Reserve of the Biosphere, has a habitat that has been transformed because it is no longer supplied by freshwater, the lake has become saline and the bird populations are declining drastically.
It is therefore urgent to review the existing catchments in the environment. It is important to see if they are authorised, if they have meters that have been mandatory for many years, to check if readings are being made and if the data is being sent every year as established by current legislation.
The case of the Royal Irrigation Ditch should be legally analysed. It was documented as early as the XVI century that water is sent by turns to different farms ending up at the Albufera. For many years, this circulation has not been happening because water is removed at the head of the lagoon.
Finally, more short-term activities need to be looked at, such as analysing the possibility of using part of the purified water from the new treatment plant of the northern urbanisations to take to the most protected area of Menorca and help its recovery.
Cases such as this show clearly the urgency for changing the habitual inaction in the management of water in Menorca. We need ministries to act and not be inhibited by problems.