The Sóller Irrigation Union (Mallorca, Spain) is a very old Irrigation Community, dating back to 1293, although modest, with some 200 hectares, and from its headquarters in the valley of the same name, has twenty years of experience in irrigation with treated water.
The Community is a little different than most Irrigation Communities. It has, between the two sources that they administer, one thousand two hundred and sixty irrigation gates and about one thousand owners of hours or minutes per week of these sources, according to the data available to this Union, based on the property deeds of the farms, which date from an old distribution that took place in 1812. This list has been extended over time due to sales or inheritances, although they cannot exceed the maximum of one hundred and sixty-eight hours per week.
In the 1980s, a renewable agreement was signed between the Irrigation Community and Sóller Town Hall to use the surplus water in winter and spring, as well as the general pipe and other installations of the fountains that supplied pre-drinking water to the Town Hall, in exchange for financial aid.
At present, when the Town Hall cedes the distribution of water to a concessionary company, the latter grants us a subsidy with an established fee that helps to cover the expenses of the Community.
The new Sóller WWTP was built some twenty years ago. The Syndicate applied for a concession for a flow of nine hundred cubic metres per day for the irrigation of fruit trees, in addition to the assembly of the drive motors and pipes. These reclaimed waters are only used to irrigate the lower part of the valley where the largest estates are located, and the branches that cross the town are avoided for health and aesthetic reasons. The use of this water for the irrigation of fruit trees requires continuous water analysis, which is provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment.
This year they have renewed the pumping facilities having to assume all the expenses, in view of the refusal and negligence of the administration.
There are several positive factors in the use of reclaimed water for the irrigation of fruit trees:
- To have good water flows in the middle of summer without any cost for the irrigators since the citizen has paid the water tax and the purification with all the national, autonomic and local taxes. For the motto "Whoever pollutes, pays".
- By using reclaimed water for irrigation, in the towns of the interior we avoid its discharge into rivers, saving the constant pollution they produce, and in wadis and torrents we avoid the creation of stinking pools and puddles. Likewise, in coastal towns, we avoid dumping it in ports and bays in the summer, which would cause profoundly serious damage to the environment.
- The use of reclaimed water for irrigation guarantees better flows of drinking water available for human consumption, especially on the coast where the population and consumption increases considerably in summer.