While the tourists and tour operators are aware of the tourist tax and the implications, it is the water crisis which holidaymakers are apparently more concerned about this summer. The executive director for Environmental Management for the leading German tour operator TUI, which is in the process of buying Thomson Holidays, Wolf Michael Iwand, said yesterday that it is the drought and lack of water in Spain and the Balearics which is worrying the tourist industry at all levels. He explained that one of the biggest attractions to holidaymakers is the high-quality infrastructure in the hotel sector, but the water problems are going to have a negative affect on the smooth operating of hotels etc., and that will upset holidaymakers. The Balearic water crisis has already made headlines in Germany and the United Kingdom, Iwand made it clear yesterday that tourists want a holiday which guarantees “sun and good weather.” He warned that the water shortage could develop into a major problem if the situation worsens and starts affecting the quality of services. The Balearic government has agreed on a set of measures in a bid to clamp down on “hose happy” communities. As the table shows, there are a number of “water wasting” councils on the island and they now face the threat of financial penalties. But apart from looking at levels of consumption, in some areas, such as Arta and Felanitx, 50 per cent of the water is lost in the water supply network. The Balearic Minister for the Environment, Margalida Rosselló, wants to reduce the number of leaks in the pipes from the current level of 26 per cent to 15 per cent, while simultaneously reducing demand. The desalination plant in Palma finally looks set to play an important role in providing water for Palma and beyond. Yesterday a 950-millionpeseta expansion plan was approved by the Ministry for the Environment and work is to be started as soon as possible. The desalination plant is to eventually provide water for the Bay of Palma area, where the population and demand increases substantially in the summer, and the regions of Calvia and Andratx - the three zones account for over half of the entire Balearic population and also include the region's most popular tourist resorts. Once completed, the enlarged desalination plant will be able to serve 350'000 people.