When I was young, I remember walking with my grandfather up to 2 km to fill bottles with drinking water from wells. How do residents handle water supplies on a small island? Our ancestors waited to collect rainwater in a natural basin. Growing up I remember the stark contradiction: surrounded by sea water and at the same time never enough drinkable water to cook or water plants and animals. We even used a timer when we showered. People have inventively devised various ways to collect and distribute rainwater to their fields and cisterns.
Today much has changed, but not the need for efficient water management. Desalination plants were installed, but a prolonged drought drained the natural wells. The constant increase in visitors has exacerbated the problem. At the same time, the number of swimming pools reached historically high levels. Consequently, water quotas have been established, car washing is prohibited and at peak times the municipal water pressure is very low. The desalination plants operate 24 hours a day in the summer, but this is not enough. Desalinated water is “heavy” and some prefer to reverse the process to have potable water. Agricultural production has also suffered even though ancient dehydrated seeds are used.
Where will all this lead? Will climate change, cheaper flights, and higher incomes make the problem worse? How can we deal with the fact that natural resources are not evenly distributed and therefore depleting at a rapid rate? Will farmers modify their methods? There have been numerous water conflicts, though none of any importance in the last 50 years. How long until one appears?