BARELY a week after the Balearic government announced that it wants to cap water rates comes the announcement that Palma is one of the cities with the most expensive water in Spain.
According to a survey compiled by a consumer federation, differences of up to 761 percent have been found in the tariffs charged in 28 Spanish cities.
It says that Alicante is the city with the dearest water and Valladolid has the cheapest.
Water is the only domestic product which does not have national directives regulating the rights of users, and the consumer group has called on the government to correct this.
The report says that a family of four consuming 12.5 cubic metres of water a month would pay an average of 8.27 euros plus IVA (VAT) a month.
But there is such a difference in tariffs that the same family would pay only 2.72 euros plus IVA in Valladolid, but 23.43 euros plus IVA in Alicante.
In Palma, the tariff works out at 12.53 euros a month, the sixth highest in Spain after Alicante, Murcia (17.06), Cordoba (15.02), Tenerife (13.28) and Barcelona (13.07).
According to the consumer group, water supply in Spain is the responsibility of town councils which grant the concession for the service to public, private or mixed companies.
One of the difficulties facing the Balearic government in its desire to cap water rates is that it can only do so in municipalities where it is the direct supplier of the water.
It cannot interfere in Palma, as the city council is the supplier since it owns the reservoirs of Gorg Blau and Cuber.
Previous efforts to get the council to cede ownership to the Balearic environment ministry have failed.