Tenerife to declare water emergency on Friday due to extreme drought

  • Tenerife Cabildo
  • 26-02-2024
  • Tenerife
  • Photo Credit: El Diario
Tenerife to declare water emergency on Friday due to extreme drought

The Tenerife Cabildo will approve the declaration of a water emergency for the island in the parliamentary session scheduled for this Friday, March 1st. This decision is supported by technical reports pointing to an extreme and prolonged drought in central areas, with a critical risk of water shortage in the coming months.

The Governing Council will present a motion seeking consensus from the other political parties to collectively address the serious drought situation. Cabildo President, Rosa Dávila, emphasises the need for unity, stating, "We are facing one of the driest winters in recent history, and ensuring water for both citizens and agriculture is a crucial matter that transcends political affiliations."

Dávila said she is confident that the initiative will be unanimously approved, stating, "We are making significant decisions to tackle the drought we are experiencing. Tenerife residents do not see ideological differences in this, and it would be incomprehensible if political groups did. I trust that no responsible party will stay out".

Vice President, Lope Afonso, emphasises the importance of a unified approach, stating, "All of us must work together on such an important issue. The drought will have severe consequences for Tenerife's agricultural sector, making it necessary to urgently deploy all available tools to mitigate the effects of the weather conditions as we approach summer."

Last week, the Government of the Canary Islands discussed the consequences of the water shortage with representatives from all councils in a meeting held in La Gomera. Efforts are underway to organise a working meeting with all agricultural organisations to inform them of the technical data considered by the Tenerife Cabildo and express concerns, especially looking ahead to summer.

Furthermore, the proposal states that the Tenerife Island Water Council and the Ministry of Tourism should launch informational campaigns targeted at the public, with a special focus on tourists and visitors, as well as the local population, stressing the importance of responsible water usage.

The motion for the declaration of the water emergency is based on technical information highlighting the consequences of warm temperature anomalies and precipitation deficits in recent years. It also includes the conclusions of a Balten report on the current situation, indicating an "extreme and prolonged drought in the central areas of the island of Tenerife."

Precipitation has decreased in all analysed stations by 15 to 40%, while evapotranspiration has increased primarily in the central areas by 10 to 25%. This aligns with the rise in the average air temperature and increased solar radiation.

As of February 1st, 2024, after a substantial part of the regular rainy season has passed, the storage level of the Balten reservoirs is at 34.6%, a significantly lower level than the same date in the previous year, which stood at 52%.

Tenerife to declare water emergency on Friday due to extreme drought

Given these circumstances, the continuity of current crops is compromised in a substantial part of the island's agricultural land, especially in the central areas, unless immediate measures supported by this emergency declaration are implemented. Technical data also indicates a critical risk of water shortage in the coming months, necessitating immediate measures implemented by the Cabildo through a fast and effective procedure.