STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
REGIONAL and Central Governments have reached agreement over financing for maintaining the Balearic Islands' torrents (flood channels) in good working order, the Environment ministry reported yesterday.

The state will provide 6 million euros over a period of four years for keeping the flood channels, or water courses, free of vegetation and debris and for making sure the lateral banks are sufficiently strong to withstand a surge of gushing water when the heavy autumn and winter rains begin.

Apart from the structural work, said government spokesman Joana Barcelo, the Environment ministry also committed yesterday to continuing work on improving the quality of water allowed to cascade down the channels, and to preventing them from becoming polluted.

With funding from Madrid agreed, the ministry will be able to carry out work on 36 different flood channels, irrigation ditches and bridges, confirmed Barcelo, speaking after the final full Balearic government meeting of the year.

Reporting on other business from the meeting, Barcelo said that the government is to put out to public tender a contract for managing the regional election process in May next year. Processing votes and results information has been given a budget of 885'000 euros, a saving of 40 percent on costs associated with the last set of elections four years ago.

Also on yesterday's agenda was approval of spending of more than 204'000 euros on an irrigation project between Ariany and Petra. The programme is being co-financed with European Union funding.

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