The low level of the Gorg Blau reservoir is a reason for considering an increase in water rates. | R.L.

According to the Facua consumers' association, Palma has the sixth highest water rates among 28 Spanish cities. This is a reason why the Partido Popular believes that there should not be an increase in rates. The municipal services agency Emaya announced earlier this week that, as part of measures to reduce water consumption, rates for high consumers will be going up.

Marga Duran, the PP spokesperson at the town hall, says that the party opposes a rise which, in her opinion, is the consequence of poor planning by the current town hall administration. She also accuses the administration of a lack of transparency and wonders if it is taking into account the number of people who might live in a household with high water consumption. "A home with three people will not use the same amount as one with five or six people."

The PP has demanded that the Emaya president, councillor Neus Truyol, appears before the full council (in order to give explanations and be questioned), criticising the fact that opposition parties have not been receiving explanations behind decisions taken by the drought committee.

María José Bauzá, another PP councillor, wonders about the work of this committee. It announced this month that there is to be an increase in the use of recycled water. However, says Bauzá, there was agreement that this should be done when the committee had its first meeting. "There has been no progress on this for four months."

Before there is any increase in rates, suggests Bauzá, other measures should be adopted, such as reducing consumption in public buildings. She notes that the likes of IB-Salut (the health service) and IMAS, the institute of social affairs, are high consumers of water.

Neus Truyol justifies Palma's rating among Spanish cities. This is because, she says, there is a Mediterranean climate and a propensity for periods of drought. (The five cities above Palma are Murcia, Barcelona, Cadiz, Huelva and Alicante.) She adds that she cannot understand the criticisms coming from the PP.