Today, March 22nd, we celebrate World Water Day.
World Water Day has been observed on this day since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22nd as ‘World Day for Water’.
Water and water management play an integral part of agricultural activity, especially so in the case of a farm managed on ecological, organic and natural terms as is done at Son Alegre in the municipality of Santanyí in the southeast of the island of Mallorca. At Son Alegre we grow vines, olive trees, carob trees and Xeixa, an ancient species of wheat (Triticum aestivum) indigenous to Mallorca which used to be grown all over the island hundreds of years ago but sadly had virtually disappeared and is only slowly being reintroduced now by us and a few like-minded young farmers.
Just in time for World Water Day, we have had plenty of rainfall over the last few days here on our finca. Yesterday, March 21st, we had 20 litres of rain on our land, plenty for us and our needs but not half as much as in neighbouring Felanitx where a massive 50 litres were reported to have fallen. The high tides and exceptional weather conditions seem to have been brought on by yesterday’s spring equinox, coupled with a supermoon and a partial eclipse of the sun. It is very rare for these three events to occur at the same time.
Back to the rain. During the twelve months of 2014, we measured a total of 375 l per square metre on our land. With an extension of 512,500 sq m (51 hectares), our land would have benefitted from about 200,000,000 litres of rain. A large portion of that water, perhaps a third, is absorbed by our plants and vegetation, as well as our animals, insects, birds and creepy crawlers. An estimated third of all that water evaporates in wind and sunshine. We believe that a further third filters down into our subterranean groundwater aquifers that we happily access whenever our crops need irrigation during the high temperatures of Summer. Last year we irrigated to an amount of roughly 200 to 250 litres per square metre, a total of perhaps 100,000,000 litres.
People say In Vino Veritas, a Latin phrase that means ‘in wine there is truth’. We would rather claim In Aqua Veritas.