When I was a kid I remember walking with my grandfather about 2 km in order to get potable water.

How people handle limited water supplies on a small island ? One can find traces of water management from prehistoric times. Our ancestors would only hope that it would rain enough for the water to be accumulated in a natural pond, at the crossing of three slopes. Contradictory enough as they were surrounded by water, albeit of a salty nature.

As far as I remember while growing up on this island, this contradiction was omnipresent. Surrounded by water but at the same time never enough to cook or to water plants and animals, we even used a chronometer when taking a shower. People became inventive and devised numerous contraptions for collecting rain water and send it to their cisterns.

Fast forward to present day a lot have changed but not the need for effective water management. Gradually desalination units where installed, but a prolonged drought drained out natural wells. An influx of tourists has accentuated the problem. At the same time the number of swimming pools has reached historical records. As a result water quotas have been established, car washing is prohibited and at peak times the water pressure of the municipal network is very low. The desalination units work 24/7 in the summer but it’s not enough. The desalinated water is “heavy” and some prefer to reverse the process in order to have drinkable water. Local produce has suffered a lot as well, even if the ancient seeds used are known to resist to heat conditions.

Where all this will lead? Will cheaper flights, higher incomes and worldwide affluence deteriorate the problem? How can we cope with the fact that natural resources are not evenly distributed and hence depleted at a fast pace? How will farmers modify their methods?

There have been numerous conflicts over water, although none major in the last 50 years. How long before one emerges?