THE Palma and Calvia councils, through their public companies Emaya and Calvia 2000, still owe 11.1 million euros for Operation Ship, during which water was transported from the River Ebro on the Peninsula to Majorca between June 1, 1995 and November 30 1997. The final date of payment is March 15 2006.
The water was shipped to Majorca in the old oil tanker Móstoles. Once moored at the Dique del Oeste, the water was transferred to the Cabo Prior, which acted as a storage tank before the water was connected to the Palma and Calvia water networks. The Móstoles made 275 trips to Majorca, bringing a total of 16.7 million cubic metres of water. The cost per cubic metre worked out at 1.62 euros, 2.6 times the price of desalinated water, currently the most expensive source of water available (60 cents). The Móstoles took 27 hours to fill its holds with water in Tarragona. It took 13 hours to transfer it to the Cabo Prior. The first load was lost because the tanks of the latter were contaminated with paint and had to be cleaned out. Operation Boat was set in motion by the then minister of public works, the socialist Josep Borrell, at the request of the Balearic government, headed at the time by Gabriel Cañellas. Both central and Balearic governments provided some finance, but the bulk of the operation was born by the Palma and Calvia councils.
The operation, when the drought was at its peak, was widely criticised in its day and was attributed to lack of planning of water resources.