As the front formed by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the government of Castilla-La Mancha against the Tajo-Segura transfer consolidates, every day it becomes more difficult for the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, to maintain the speech of that the transfer is inalienable – if the times he has uttered the word were translated into cubic meters of water saved, the water problem in the province would be history. Little by little his figure is wearing out and neither he nor his team seem or want to value it. After the approval of the Council of Ministers of the first cut to the Tajo-Segura, modifying the exploitation rules, simply due to a political whim of Vice President Teresa Ribera (the technicians who made the report came to suggest that such a rush was not necessary). The judicial battle has started, but both the Consell, the Provincial Council, and the irrigators themselves know that this path will not have long.
Like it more or less, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition has acted, only the opposite was missing, with the law on its part, and just as the water competencies in Spain are state, the legislation, the same that the Executive of the PP wrote in 2014, it grants you the right to change the rules. Another issue is whether the fundamentals are questionable or not, but no judge is going to decide whether Ribera has rushed, nor is he going to assess, for example, if the climate experts have a magic wand that guarantees them if in five or three ten years it will rain more or less, as much as all the signs point to an increase in dry periods.
Hopefully the Supreme Court – the president of the Provincial Council, Carlos Mazón, promoter of the province’s appeal, admits that no one can know how a lawsuit will end when it starts – return the Tajo-Segura to the place where it should be, but failing to know the sentence, that at the rate that justice is going, it can be known when there is not even a tomato left in the Vega Baja, what seems clearer every day is that the solution is political and, today, the ball is in the roof of Ximo Puig. Carlos Mazón maintains his particular proclamation every time he has occasion: “the solution is to overthrow the government of Pedro Sánchez.” Who knows. The precedents of the Executive of the PP with water are not, either, to frame, so that, right now, the trump card that remains for the province to save the transfer remains deposited in President Ximo Puig, and in the power of conviction to demonstrate in Madrid on the subject of water. So far no steps have been seen, but, I insist, only he could convince Teresa Ribera and Pedro Sánchez (I have never heard him, by the way, refer to the subject) to cushion the stick programmed to Tajo-Segura. The famous roadmap marked by Cristina Narbona, and which is none other than changing the Tagus water for desalinated water. Point.
What is clear is that the future of the province is unsustainable if water resources are not guaranteed and the debate can no longer be, either, whether desalination or transfers. Desalinated water, on the other hand, which, although it is produced in Torrevieja, all goes to Campo de Cartagena. There is money there to pay for it and it still cannot be used in the province because, please, there are no connections with the farms of more than 20,000 farmers in the south. Meanwhile, the Government (Acuamed) continues with its plans to expand the production capacity in Torrevieja to 180 hm3, but without solving the basics, its distribution in Alicante, so if nobody prevents it, the flow will be born in Alicante, but It will be for the Murcian garden.
The fence around the Tagus transfer has been tightening both in Madrid and in Toledo while the blockade of the Júcar-Vinalopó continues – this month’s relief dispatch is just that, a relief risk – after having invested more than 400 million euros of public money, but the province has not done anything to work on solutions in its own territory. For example, better use of wastewater that goes to the sea through minimal purification, and that could be used without problems in agriculture, although not for human consumption, as long as the flow was of good quality. That is also environmentalism. A matter whose powers are also of a Council that has never done its homework on this issue. Starting with the PP, which was the first culprit, and now demands solutions from Puig’s team. What does seem clear now is that claiming transfers from the Ebro and the Tajo Medio, although technically possible, already seems like a toast to the sun seeing where state and European politics are going. They were not made at the time and they will never be made.
The accounts do not come out. For every cubic meter per second that the ecological flow increases, 30 hm3 per year of the transfer to Alicante and Murcia will be reduced. As the objective of the Confederación del Tajo seems to be to double it, that is, from the current six to 12 m3 per second, the decrease remains at 180 hm3 per year on stocks, which rarely exceed 600 hm3 and with the Damocles sword from the 400 hm3 reserve line from which the transfer is closed. Almost seven years ago, when Mariano Rajoy and his collaborators sold that the Tagus “memorandum” would put an end to all problems, they raised the dilemma between ecological flows or raising the reserve. The latter was chosen. The Supreme Court, the same court that is trusted now to stop the cut of the Tajo-Segura, later ruled something like the “2×1”, which leaves the transfer against the ropes, and makes Alicante add a new defeat in its It strives to ensure a supply of quality, affordable water.
Unfortunately, demagoguery has prevailed in Madrid and in the rest of Spain, fueled by cases of corruption, which conveyed the feeling that in the Valencian Community water is only wanted to feed the brick and the balls. Nobody appreciates that we are a good part of the garden of Europe, and that the rest of the Spanish also live on the benefits of our agriculture, the same ones who shower when they spend the summer on the Costa Blanca. What bad press we have had. But, not for that reason, the province is exempt from doing its duties.
Desalination? Yes, but in Alicante, in a case similar to that of the riverside towns of Entrepeñas and Buendía, which want it for their tourist business, and where they lack connection with the river due to the neglect of the regional governments that pass through Toledo, there is also no connection with the desalination plant in Torrevieja. The plant, with a cost of 350 million euros paid with the money of all Spaniards, those who have water and also those who make balances to take advantage of every last drop of the scarce resource, does not have the pipeline to supply irrigation water 80% of the farmers in the south of Alicante, including the 20,000 community members of Riegos de Levante. The Government has announced an investment of 500 million euros. We have been so deceived that it is hard to believe.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.