The transformation of Spain and more specifically of our territory is best explained by knowing the history of people like the engineer Manuel Lorenzo Pardo. Let’s put ourselves in context. At the beginning of the 20th century, the country had to overcome a battered economy worn down by overseas wars and set out to transform rainfed agriculture into irrigated agriculture to optimize economic performance and contribute to regional development. In 1932, Manuel Lorenzo Pardo, then director of the Center for Hydrographic Studies, after having held the responsibility of the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation, promoted the first National Plan for Hydraulic Works, proposing communication between hydrographic basins to make optimal use of existing resources and promote the alleged economic transformation of the whole of Spain.
The Plan, which was not finally approved, already included the proposal for the Tajo-Segura transfer precisely in order to promote what was called upon to become, and today we attest to this, in the Huerta de Europa.
Lorenzo Pardo, like other contemporaries of his, knew how to see that agriculture in Spain could take a quantitative and qualitative leap by creating irrigated areas and transferring water between hydrographic basins. Proof of this is the relevant agri-food industry that has developed almost a century later in the Mediterranean basin of eastern Spain (Alicante, Murcia and Almería).
The agricultural sector and the agri-food industry in the province of Alicante therefore owes a lot to people like Manuel Lorenzo Pardo. The transformation of the landscape and our culture was parallel to the transformation of our economy, which went from being a subsistence economy to a driving economy of the territory and exporter (internal and external). This transformation was such that thousands of jobs in the province are directly related to economic sectors linked to the intensive use of water. And not only those directly related to agriculture, since our identifying sector par excellence, tourism, reaches high levels of use and reuse of water due to the lack of rainfall in the territories of southeastern Spain.
Currently, 45,000 agricultural and agri-food industry jobs are in danger if the water cuts from the Tajo-Segura transfer are made effective and that shows us the importance of the common good and the good use that each drop has been given in the province of water that enters our streams. A balance maintained over time that develops technology and artificial intelligence that other territories lack due to having sufficient water flows throughout the year.
In fact, the use of the waters of the Tajo-Segura transfer, if it is characterized by something, is by efficiency, and the reuse that reaches optimal levels in Almería, Murcia and Alicante, which is a true reflection of the interest in making the most of to the last drop, and why in this territory we are at the forefront of this phenomenon that has been called circular economy, which is nothing more than dealing with intelligence and sensitivity the life cycle of the resources that we put at the service of society.
For this reason, and in the face of the complex situation that we live today in transversal matters such as the use of water, characterized by the lack of consensus and a global and deep vision, it is opportune to review the past and return to the origins, remembering visionaries with a certain profile. Renaissance as Manuel Lorenzo Pardo. People like him, who were able to adopt a perspective without administrative or political limits, contributed to the transformation of our territory and to generating new opportunities, which were undoubtedly taken advantage of.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.