To this will be added in the medium term the increase in the ecological flow of the river in Talavera, Toledo and Aranjuez. Conclusion: desalinated water to alleviate the clipping. More expensive and, therefore, higher production costs, with which many farmers will have to abandon their farms as it is a highly atomized sector, due to the low prices they receive.
The only hope is that the resources that have already been announced by the Generalitat, and the governments of Murcia and Andalusia will prosper, or there will be a strong response from farmers and fruit and vegetable companies that depend on water from the transfer, and that this week they will decide what kind of mobilizations they carry out to try to change the criteria of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, with which it seems that the bridges for dialogue are broken.
The irrigators insist that the numbers used by the technicians of the Center for Studies and Experimentation of Public Works (Cedex) to calculate the volume of water to be transferred were taken from years in which Spain was shaken by the last great drought (2005/2015), and the scenario today has changed, as evidenced by the water reserves themselves in the reservoirs at the head of the Tagus (about 900 hm³). Hence, farmers, businessmen, Council and Provincial Council ask that, at a minimum, the decision of the Ministry be postponed and wait until the new hydrological plans of the Tajo and Segura basins scheduled for 2022 are closed.
Murcia takes the lead and finalizes with its farmers the mobilizations against the reduction of water
According to a report from the Institute of Economic Studies of the Province of Alicante (Drown), cutting the transfer would affect the entire productive sector of the province of Alicante and more directly to the agricultural sector and the agri-food industry on which more than 45,000 jobs depend. Ineca considers that it is an inopportune moment in the midst of the revision phase of the Tagus Basin Hydrological Plan, which in principle will end in the spring of 2022. For this reason, Ineca suggests that «these exploitation rules be reviewed once it has been approved the Tagus Hydrological Plan in 2022, since this will be the moment when there is a more adjusted hydrological series and therefore better technical decisions can be made. The transfer is the cornerstone of the economic activity of the province of Alicante because it not only affects the agricultural and agri-food transformation sector, but also guarantees the supply of 35 municipalities in the region of L’Alacantí, Vega Baja and one part of Medio Vinalopó, more than 1.1 million people supplied by the Mancomunidad de los Canales del Taibilla. Precisely, the reduction of 28% (24 hm3) of the water contributions of the transfer during the past year caused that the Taibilla had to increase by 75% the purchase of desalinated water.
Flow delivery has not stopped since last March
Last month the Ministry resumed sending water from the Tagus to the province and Murcia, which ended six months of anguish for the agricultural sector that was beginning to see its future threatened despite the oxygen balloon that the recent rains have meant. The reopening of the transfer coincides with the good level of reserves in the Entrepeñas and Buendía reservoirs (900 hm3), which will make it possible, if there are no incidents in the form of breaks, that Alicante and Murcia do not have water supply problems in all year. The 138 hm³ that remain to arrive can do so, by law, until October, when the hydrological year ends.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.