The Bay of Alcudia could have a desalination plant by the middle of 2002 according to minister of the environment Jaume Matas. Matas, a former chief minister of the Balearics, said this at a meeting in Madrid with representatives of the municipalities grouped together in the Mancomunidad Nord (Alcudia, Pollensa, Muro, Artà and Santa Margalida). Montserrat Santandreu, the Mayor of Artà and acting president of the Mancomunidad, said that they had explained to Matas the serious water problems the north of the island has been suffering. He said that the water table was dropping and it was very difficult for it to recover. He added we wanted to make clear that a desalination plant is badly needed in this area. Santandreu said that Matas seemed to be prepared to take action to get the desalination plant up and running and has promised to conduct a survey to find the best site. The plant would supply Alcudia and Pollensa directly, and the Muro beaches in a more indirect manner, he said. Matas also discussed the possibility of building a cycle route in the area and was asked to look into the problems at the beaches of Muro and Santa Margalida, where currents wash away the sand, carrying it off to Alcudia. The Mayors expressed their satisfaction at the results of the meeting.