The Balearic Ministry for the Environment said yesterday that the fault which forced the Palma desalination plant to be shut down last Thursday and forced the Palma, Calvia and Andratx councils to introduce hose-pipe bans, should have been repaired overnight and the plant is expected to be back in operation today, two days earlier than expected. The Ministry said yesterday that because of the severity and urgency of the breakdown, all the stops have been pulled out in order to bring the plant, which accounts for 40 percent of the supply to the three municipalities affected, on line as soon as possible. Work on cleaning the pipes started last night and once the operation has been completed all seven of the supply lines will be opened. The news not only comes as a relief to residents who have been asked by local councils over the past few days to reduce their water consumption, but will also ease the pressure on the island's two reservoirs. There were serious concerns last week that if engineers were unable to repair the desalination plant quickly, the reservoirs would run dry. However, the local government hopes that consumers will still use water economically. This latest fault was the sixth to have hit the plant and the Mayor of Andratx appears to have had enough of having to rely on Palma. Margarita Moner yesterday met Spanish Environment Minister, Jaume Matas, to discuss a permanent desalination plant being built in the municipality in order to guarantee water supplies for the area in the future. Moner said “Andratx needs water, the wells are drying up and the two mobile desalination units are insufficient.”

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