THE Balearic ministry of the environment will challenge the central ministry's decision to build four desalination plants in the islands in court.
One challenge will be administrative, and the other in the Constitutional Court, alleging infringement of responsibilities.
Minister Margalida Rosselló said yesterday that the planning and management of water was the exclusive responsibility of the Balearic government, as laid down in the autonomy statute. She said that the central ministry had been “irresponsible” in approving the new desalination plants because of their high financial cost, their effect on the environment and consumption of energy. She added that they had not been contemplated in the Hydrology Plan for the Balearics approved in 2001, and, in the opinion of the Balearic government, “they are unnecessary.” Rosselló and the director general of water resources Antoni Rodríguez, said that the 199 million euros the new plants (to be built in Andratx and Alcudia in Majorca, Santa Eulalia in Ibiza and Ciutadella in Minorca) will cost has not been included in the general State budget, alleging that it would finally have to be paid by the local government. Rosselló described the plants as “a poisoned gift” from the central ministry.
She claimed that her department was currently developing solutions to the water problem which are “easier and cheaper.” One of the solutions is to pipe water from Sa Costera near Soller, which is lost at sea, to Palma, and, said Rosselló, although they had been seeking funding for four years, it still did not have a budget. And a pipeline is due to carry water from the desalination plant in Palma to Andratx and Alcudia, making the need for new plants in those towns unnecessary.

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