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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Environment

Half of Es Molí's energy needs met by solar power

Foto edifici es moliThe Formentera Council has commissioned the fitting of 20 solar panels at Es Molí. It is hoped the installation will enable the social centre, which houses the island's youth centre—el Casal de Joves—and Ràdio Illa, to generate 50 per cent of the building's annual energy needs of 19,265 kWh.

Including VAT, the project had a price tag of €15,795.34. Five thousand of that amount was covered with funding from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), distributed by the Govern. The remainder of the tab was picked up by the Council.

With the executive branch of the Balearic government currently offering local administrations a new line of subsidies, the Council is currently preparing its application—due November 3—in an effort to expand renewable energy across CiF facilities.

Funding for private citizens and businesses
Stressing the importance of Formentera's gradual shift toward sustainable energy solutions, Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera pointed to a new kind of subsidies that the Govern balear offers individuals, non-profits, businesses and business associations to promote solar panel installations.

Private households stand to receive 50% off solar panel installations that generate up to 3kW power, at a maximum cost of €1.50/W. The funding maxes out at €2,250. For businesses, for whom subsidies can cover up to 40% of installations generating 30kW, funding can go as high as €18,000. Applications will be accepted until September 1.

Complete information on the funding, as well as the application, can be found at http://www.caib.es/govern/sac/fitxa.do?codi=2229301&coduo=2390767&lang=ca

Another subsidy offered by the Govern, promoting taxis that are either electric, plug-in hybrids, produce reduced emissions or run on compressed natural gas or liquified petroleum gas, can be requested until October 11. That information, and the application, is available at http://www.caib.es/govern/sac/fitxa.do?codi=2319379&coduo=2390767&lang=ca

Two illegal encampments ousted from Illetes beach

Foto campament platjaAfter apprising coastal authorities of two unauthorised encampments on Illetes beach, CiF Office of Environment crews joined officials from demarcació de Costes on visits to the sites in question, seeing to it that their occupants dismantled them. It has been the third such incident this month.

Crew members from two yachts—95-metre Kismet and 71-metre Titania—had pitched numerous items on the seashore without possessing any of the permits required to do so.

One of the outposts measured 30m2 and consisted of a covered stand, 12 hammocks, 5 umbrellas, 2 easy chairs and markers staking out the area. In the other case, the individuals arrayed a 40m2 space with a shade tent, two food tables, two chairs, an umbrella, paddle surf boards and bathing material like towels and creams.

'Our beaches belongs to everyone'
In the words of the CiF environment secretary, “on Formentera public land belongs to everyone”. Barring specific exceptions, Councillor Daisee Aguilera pointed out, private use of beaches is prohibited. “What concerns us is that today's occurrence is the third of its kind in the past month,” she said. Aguilera took the opportunity to voice thanks to two parties: locals for collaborating by reporting cases when they spot them, and Costes for helping keep beaches public.

One month on, compost collection 'off to a good start'

Foto recollida organica bar centroThe Formentera Council's Office of Environment has released figures following a one-month trial of compost collection across 47 of the biggest waste producers in Sant Francesc's town centre. From June 19 to July 23, crews collected 26,494 kg of compost, or an average of roughly one tonne per day. The CiF environment secretary applauded participants for the pilot programme's “increasingly positive figures”.

With help from the Leader group, the testing phase of the project sought to gauge the impact of compost collection among some of Formentera's largest generators of organic waste—restaurants, bars, cafés, supermarkets, fishmongers, butchers and flower shops, for instance. The trial also included Formentera's hospital and early-childhood learning centre, or escoleta, as well as, in recent weeks, businesses at the island's industrial park. Each participating establishment was given special, small-sized bins that collection crews picked up nightly. According to Councillor Aguilera, the project aims to meet the targets laid out by a waste management directive which is currently in the works.

The environment chief hailed the success of the initiative, which, “generally, has been very well received,” she said. Aguilera thanked businesses for their cooperation and encouraged them to stick with it. “Your work is contributing to improved waste management strategies,” she promised. The initiative is overseen by one environmental fieldworker who is also tasked with improving recycling strategies of other materials.

Formentera introduces patrol of anchoring boats

Foto presentacio fondejosFormentera Council chief Jaume Ferrer and environment secretary Daisee Aguilera joined Aguilera's opposite number for the Govern balear in introducing the now two-week-old service to monitor anchorage on posidonia meadows.

Ferrer welcomed Vicenç Vidal's choice of Formentera to unveil the service, namely, he said, “because Formentera has been a pioneer in posidonia protection. For Formenterencs it's a top priority”. The CiF chairman highlighted the formal complaint the Council brought regarding the service's holdup, while adding that he understood administrative processes “can often take longer than we'd like”. Ferrer trumpeted the understanding his administration shares with its Palma counterparts, and pointed to a common objective of granting Formentera control of its entire coastline in the two or three next years. “We've got to do everything we can to insure surveillance and control of the watercraft that anchor on our coasts,” he said, and reiterated that the priority was safeguarding Formentera's sea floor and posidonia.

As Vidal pointed out, since the service's rollout patrol boats have already logged 546 relocations of boats anchored on seagrass meadows and 2,230 cases of outreach. Under the new scheme, 10 boats across the Balearics track large vessels anchoring along areas of sandy coastline. Focussing on ships 15 to 110 metres (m) long, the patrols, which communicate with crews via channel 68 about posidonia and proper anchorage, also assist watercraft in relocating from posidonia meadows to suitable anchorage spots. Forty-five thousand informative brochures have been drawn up in collaboration with Red Eléctrica de España (REE) as part of the effort. Six patrol boats will be stationed in the Pityuses until the end of September. For the first time this year, the area of surveillance will stretch from cala Saona to Es Caló with everything in between including Ses Illetes park. Three boats patrol the waters of Mallorca and one is posted at Menorca. 

Formentera water use drops 7.7% in June

Telectura formenteraCiting figures released by Aqualia, the Formentera Council has reported the island's June water use was 83,668 cubic metres (m3), or 7.73% less than last year, when it was 90,860m3. A downward trend marked the first half of 2017, when aggregate water use was 7.05% lower than the same period in 2016 (January to June). Particularly significant was the downtick in the water that was used by lorries during the month of June, 14.53% below last summer's figure.

Despite the generally positive nature of the data, Formentera environment councillor Daisee Aguilera called on islanders to use water mindfully, particularly in summer. The councillor reminded water users of the large energy and environmental footprint that production entails, especially given locally-sourced water must be desalinated.

Eduardo del Castillo, chief of Aqualia's Balearic division, pins the decline on two factors. First, rains in the autumn and winter filled many homeowners' private cisterns, meaning families which previously had a lorry deliver their water were opting to go without the service this year. Second, Aqualia have embarked on a series of network upgrades.

Distance operations
Aqualia are increasingly able to control their equipment remotely thanks to electronic, IT and telecom support. They marshal the technology to constantly track for possible service failures (leaks in reservoirs, sporadic spikes in use on the network, undue pressure on the system, problems affecting water flow, etc.). “This gives us a clear overall picture of the service,” explained del Castillo, “which means we can act immediately should anomalies arise”.

Distance readings of water metres in Sant Ferran were behind detection of eleven incidents in the past six months. Seven of those were leaks of an average of 17 litres (l) an hour, 85,680l per month, or 1.04 million litres/year. As with similar efforts previously in Sant Francesc, Ca Marí and La Savina,

Current work by the Council to switch out old water pipes in Es Pujols's central neighbourhood is akin to previous efforts in Sant Francesc, Ca Marí and La Savina. That, plus waterproofed reservoirs in Sant Ferran and Es Pujols, have led to the improved water use figures.

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