THE Balearic government has been advised to inspect the network of water pipes because more than 30 per cent of the drinking water in the islands is being lost through leaky pipes. The recommendation came from the Economic and Social Advisory Council (CES), which issued a similar warning to Aragon, Valencia and the Basque Country, where losses through leaky pipes are also more than 30 per cent. In recent years, the government has been trying to solve the problem of leaky pipes, caused because of the age of the installations. It has been providing financial help to small towns and villages to help them improve the water supplies. The warning comes at a time when Spain is suffering from a drought, although it is not as serious in the Balearics as it is in the Peninsula. Even so, the local authorities are taking steps to save water, and are investing heavily in improvements to the sewage farms, so that the treated water can be reused for irrigation, watering public gardens and for street cleaning. In its annual report on the environment, referring to 2004, CES underlined an 80 per cent increase in the amount spent by companies in the Balearics in protecting the environment. An increase in this field is general throughout Spain, with a few exceptions such as Extremadura, the report said. The Balearics, along with Aragon and Andalucia, are also singled out as the regions with the highest increase in the amount of rubbish produced. The amount of rubbish produced in the Balearics is 744 kilos per person per year, the highest in Spain. It is 50 per cent higher than the national average and 33 per cent higher than the European Union average. And when it comes to noise, the Balearics is once again listed as one of the noisiest regions in Spain, alongside Valencia, Madrid, Murcia and Catalonia.

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