EDITION: June - August 2016

Improving the quality of your water

Nat Rich
There are two main questions that are often asked when you decide to make the island of Ibiza your home. The first is “Can I afford to live here?” and the second arises right after you have moved in: “What can I do about my terrible water?”. I have no magic answers that can help you with the price tag of your dream home, but fortunately there are now solutions for the water issues that many of us face on this beautiful island. Whether you were born here or just fell in love with the vibe and decided it was a great place to live, you will have seen, heard or had a water problem at some point during your stay. Most of the island’s residents know all too well the difficulties that arise from having salty water that is laced with calcium (cal). The first thing that becomes obvious is that you can’t drink the stuff. After a week or so you’ll also start to notice how the water leaves your hair dry and damaged after showering, regardless of the price of your hair conditioner. So why do we have this problem and what can you do about it? 
If you had the pleasure of reading Katherine Berry’s two articles in previous issues of IbiCasa magazine, you will be aware that over the past decade Ibiza has seen a huge change in its water situation. There are a number of key factors that have led to a chronic water shortage, with the main one being the over-population of the island during the busy summer months. Most of our water comes directly from underground aquifers, which wouldn’t be a problem if we were able to match the input of water with the outflow. In the past these aquifers had always gone down during the busy summer season but then had been replenished during the eight months of low season. However, with the recent increase in consumption the winter rains are not enough to refill the aquifers. At this low level the water supply becomes contaminated with seawater, resulting in a very high percentage of salt. Water that has too much salt causes damage to your skin, hair, health, pipes and appliances... and of course is useless for drinking or cooking. You can’t even water the garden with it. If you add to this the high levels of calcium due to seepage from underground limestone, then you have a recipe for the extremely bad water that many of us put up with on Ibiza.
The good news is that there are now many more ways to improve your water than ever before. Previously the only option was to use the old style reverse osmosis machines which are very effective, but typically waste around 4 litres for every 1 litre produced. Fortunately that problem has been solved, and the newest models of reverse osmosis available on Ibiza are smarter, more efficient and less intrusive. Most importantly, they also reduce the amount of water wasted by up to 75%, resulting in just one litre wasted for every litre produced. It’s important to note that in either the older or newer versions of reverse osmosis, you can implement a waste water management system to direct the excess water to your plants and garden rather than letting it go down the drain.
Ionizing your water is another effective method that is now available. This system not only filters your tap water, but it also uses the process of electrolysis to adjust its alkaline/acidic balance. The result is water that hydrates you better than regular water, and also has numerous other health benefits... some studies say that it can even help you to lose weight. Another alternative involves the re-structuring of your water. This is one of the newest solutions, and it works best for improving water that you wish to drink, either from your well or from a rain water cistern. The re-structuring process changes the shape, size and formation of the water molecules. It re-introduces what’s known as ‘life force energy’ back into the water, and this quality is said to be vital to all forms of life. It’s also guaranteed to improve plant growth by at least 30%, and in many cases it has boosted growth by more than twice that much. This is because the restructured water is more easily absorbable for both plants and humans, which dramatically improves hydration.
Perhaps the most fascinating water solution is a de-humidification process that takes humidity from the air and turns it into pure drinking water. This is not some crazy theoretical idea that may be coming to the market in the future – the technology is already here and it is available on Ibiza. Not only does it produce water from the air, but it also incorporates a reverse osmosis system to remove impurities and other harsh toxins from the water. Some water is still ‘wasted’ in the osmosis process, but remember that this water originally came from the air. It did not originate from the aquifers so the wastage is not detrimental to our ground water levels… and it can be re-circulated to your garden. 
All of these solutions can help to make your water more healthy, clean and drinkable, but there are also systems available that make it safer and more efficient for your pipes, plumbing and appliances. The latest technologies can remove and eliminate the build-up of cal that causes so much damage in our homes. These systems are attached to your pipes at the point where the water comes into your home, and they are designed to break down the cal/lime scale so that your pipes are cleaned and there is no further damage.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of available solutions, but before you can do anything about your water issue you first need to know exactly what contaminants are in the water and how they might be causing damage both to you and your home. So whether you’re building, buying, renting or growing food, the first thing you need to do is to have your water properly analyzed. Those looking to improve their water supply may want to use the professional services of an independent water consultant. As experts on water quality, they can guide you to choose the tests and solutions which best fit your personal situation. A good consultant will have your water tested quickly and efficiently so that the appropriate solutions can be put into motion… and soon your life will begin to flow with clean, healthy water. •