Minister for the Environment Jaume Matas pledged 35'000 million pesetas yesterday (an estimated 180 million pounds) to resolve the islands' pressing water problems. He made the announcement yesterday after he was criticised by the leader of the Balearic Government Francesc Antich for being “all talk and no action.” “I just want to set the record straight. This money will be invested in the Balearics in various projects to resolve our pressing water needs,” he said. He called on Antich for his co-operation and said that central and local administration must work together for the good of the Balearics. Matas blamed the local government for the delay saying that “everything is tied up at my end and I am just waiting for the local government to carry out the necessary work so that water can be diverted from Manacor and Sa Costora (in Soller) to Palma where it is badly needed.” Matas has also pledged thousands of millions of pesetas to build desalination plants across the Balearics. But he has come under fire from environmentalists who claim that the water plants would eat heavily into island electricty resources. “The most important thing is for these investments to be undertaken. They are badly needed,” he said. Matas has been involved in a war of words with Balearic leader Antich over the water situation with both of them blaming each other for the water crisis. It is a complicated situation because Antich defeated Matas at the last local elections and following a few months as leader of the opposition in the Balearic parliament, Matas was named Minister for the Environment in Jose Maria Aznar's cabinet. The mobile desalination plants, which were introduced in the middle of the summer, saved the day for the Balearics because otherwise water restrictions would have been introduced.


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