Former Balearic Chief Minister Jaume Matas made it quite clear yesterday that unless the Balearics accept his proposal to build four new desalination plants, the region will suffer the same, if not worse, problems with the water supply next summer. Matas, the new Spanish Environment Minister, met the Mayor of Palma, Joan Fageda for talks in Madrid yesterday after Matas outlined his plans for the Balearics before the Senate. Matas told the Mayor that he will “have absolute respect” for the local government's decision, whatever it will be, but warned that time is trickling away. Matas repeated that his department is prepared to fund the 15.000 million peseta construction of the four plants and the expansion of the two existing desalination plants, but Matas told the Mayor that there is an air of “urgency” about deciding what the Balearics intend to do about the water crisis, now and for the future. The problem is that the Balearic Environment Minister prefers the installation of mobile desalination units, a project Matas refuses to fund and Matas says that the local ministry claims there “will be problems” with building permanent sites.

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