Staff Reporter BALEARIC households are those which consume the least amount of water anywhere in Spain, with an average daily usage rate of 127 litres per head registered in 2002.

According to a report released yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), inhabitants of the Balearics have maintained this exemplary position as being the lowest consumers in Spain, in spite of the 2.4 percent increase in consumption registered in relation to the previous year.

Across Spain in 2002, consumption of water fell by 0.6 percent while the average price rose by 6.6 percent to stand at 0.81 euros per cubic metre.
Records for the country show that in 2002, 4'783 cubic hectometres of water were needed to supply urban demand, of which 80.6 percent (3'856 cubic hectometres) were distributed for consumption by families, companies, local council organisations, etc.

Within the public distribution networks, 19.4 percent of available water was lost through leaks, fractures and other faults, but the volume of water lost (927 cubic hectometres) was 0.6 percent inferior to that registered in 2001. The level of consumption of water by Spanish families rose to 2'512 cubic hectometres, a figure representing 65 percent of the total consumption, while the average consumption per inhabitant per day was 164 litres, 0.6 percent less than the 165 litres registered in 2001.

Analysed according to regions, Castilla-La Mancha had the highest average demand for water in the home of anywhere in the country (185 litres), followed by Andalucia (184 litres), Cantabria and Catalonia (182 litres), Aragon (170 litres), Madrid (166 litres) and Extremadura (165 litres).

Below the national average lay Asturias and Valencia (158 litres), Castilla y León (155 litres), Navarra (148 litres), the Basque Country (147 litres), Murcia and the self-governing Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa (146 litres), the Canary Islands 134 litres), Galicia (131 litres) and the Balearic Islands, the lowest with 127 litres.

The price of water supply reached 0.61 euros per cubic metre in 2002, while treatment of sewage water stood at 0.20 euros per cubic metre.
The highest prices were witnessed in the Canary Islands (1.67 euros per cubic metre of water), the Balearic Islands (1.48) and the Basque Country (1.14); at the other end of the scale, La Rioja (0.44), Castilla y León (0.49), Castilla-La Mancha (0.52) registered the lowest costs.

The highest increases in the price of water in respect of 2001, were seen in Castilla y León (8.9%), Castilla-La Mancha and Valencia (8.3%). The most moderate increases were felt in the Canary Islands (0.6%) and Galicia (1.7%).

Water usage in the agricultural sector rose by 2.5 percent in 2002 and the amount of water used in this sector stood at 17'115 cubic hectometres.