PALMA THE Balearic government announced yesterday that it is expecting to start pumping trials this month as part of the scheme to bring the natural fresh water supply from Sa Costera on the coast of the Sa Tramuntana mountain range to Palma.

The tests cannot begin however, until an agreement is signed between the regional authorities and the electricity supply plant at Soller which will provide continuous power to the pumping machinery.

Damia Nicolau, Balearic Water and Environmental Quality director was speaking yesterday at the headquarters of the regional Ministry for the Environment where an agreement was being signed with Banyalbufar Town Council for the construction of a sewage treatment plant at Port des Canonge.

According to Nicolau, the aim is for Sa Costera to supply water to Palma and to Bunyola from July onwards, once water has successfully been pumped to s'Estremera and to the holding tank at Son Pacs. If this is achieved, this hydraulic project of major importance for fresh supply to the bay of Palma, can be officially inaugurated in August.

This challenging engineering scheme has been financed with 78 million euros from the central government Ministry for the Environment and will allow an annual water usage of 14 million cubic metres - a volume which since time immemorial and up until now has fallen wasted into the sea. Even in the event of a severe drought, the scheme bringing fresh water from Sa Costera will guarantee a supply to the Island.