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HomeLatest NewsDrought forces municipalities to apply 'in extremis' water management measures

Drought forces municipalities to apply ‘in extremis’ water management measures

Date: May 25, 2024 Time: 16:42:40

Concern about the drought in Spain continues in a summer marked by heat waves and a lack of rainfall. These last few months have followed the trend of a historically dry 2022, causing the national reservoirs to find themselves in the Letin Hydrologico. This figure is 16% below the average of the last decade, which is 54.5%.

Reservoirs for consumptive use, that is, those destined to supply households and consumption for agriculture, would be even emptier, occupying only 30.6% of their capacity. The basins most affected by the drought have been the Guadalete-Barbate, Guadalquivir and the Internal Basins of Catalonia, although almost all of them have seen their stored water levels decrease due to the lack of rainfall.

Faced with this situation, some autonomous communities have begun to apply restrictions on consumption to optimize the management of available water. Around nine million Spaniards reside in municipalities whose councils have been forced to limit the use of water. Andalusia has been the community most affected by these restrictions, with cuts in public services in effect in almost all provinces, and even some limitations on private use. In fact, the residents of the southern area of ​​Córdoba and some towns in Huelva and Málaga are already suffering nocturnal power cuts. The president of the community, Juanma Moreno, warned that if the drought continues it will be necessary to apply more restrictions in Andalusia.

Extremadura, on the other hand, has entered the third phase of its Drought Emergency Plan, which establishes a limit of 189 liters of water per day per person. In addition to night cuts, the community has prohibited some activities that involve an intensive use of water, such as filling swimming pools, washing cars or taking care of gardens.

Not only southern Spain has been affected by the lack of water. Catalonia first declared a state of emergency due to drought this August, and an unprecedented limit of 200 liters of water per inhabitant per day was developed. To meet this objective, consumption in municipal services has been reduced, although limiting the supply of water to the mouth is not yet being considered, but a reduction in water pressure is being considered. The Government of Navarra, for its part, has also applied restrictions to irrigation in the south of the community, which mainly affect farmers.

Agriculture, the great affected

The sector most affected by water scarcity is undoubtedly agriculture. According to official data, it is estimated that up to 80% of the water consumed in Spain is dedicated to agricultural food production, despite the fact that only 2% of the population is employed in the primary sector. This not only means that drought is a phenomenon that causes great concern among farm workers, but also that the efficiency and modernization of irrigation systems are placed at the center of conversations around water management.

As a measure to alleviate the effects of the drought, the Ministry of Agriculture announced last June an agreement with the European Commission to increase the amount that Spanish farmers will receive from the European crisis reserve. In total, Brussels will allocate the largest item in the package, 81 million euros, in direct aid to farm workers in Spain, which despite being one of the driest Mediterranean countries has a particularly active agricultural sector.

The transfer of the Tagus to Segura has become a source of controversy in recent months

The Spanish government has also taken a new step in one of the most important conflicts in the country’s water management, the transfer of the Tagus to Segura river. The Ministry of Ecological Transition announced earlier this year that it planned to progressively cease the transfer of water from the Buendía and Entrepeñas swamps to the Levante area, where it is mainly used for irrigation. 1979, was initially conceived as a transfer of water from a surplus basin to a deficit one, but it has generated strong waves at a time of unprecedented drought in which the Guadalajara swamps are at 18.5% and 26.4% of their capacity.

Political proposals against the drought

Experts have pointed out the inadequacy of demand-focused measures such as transfers or consumption restrictions, which are scarce in the face of the historical drop in rainfall, which is expected to continue to decline as a result of climate change. For this reason, the importance of increasing the efficiency of the Spanish supply and irrigation system and the proposals for structural changes became central in the campaign for 23J, when the different parties presented their proposals to solve a problem that increasingly affects more and more Spaniards. .

The PSOE placed the creation of a Reform of the Water Law against its environmental proposals, despite not having been able to approve it during this last term. The Socialists’ program included doubling the capacity of desalination plants to cope with the reduction in reserves, as well as improving supply to rural areas. It also proposes an investment of 5,000 million euros in the construction and digitization of hydraulic infrastructures to reduce waste and 2,310 million for more efficient irrigation systems.

The PP, on the other hand, focused its proposal on a National Water Pact with the autonomous communities with an investment of 40,000 million in the improvement of infrastructures such as dams, canals or supply networks for their modernization.

Sumar also valued environmentalism in relation to water management within its program, and proposed increasing Seprona’s surveillance of illegal wells, with the intention of closing non-regularized ones. He also pointed to large consumers of water such as golf courses and demanded restrictions on their irrigation.

Finally, Vox proposed, in addition to the development of new reservoirs, uniting all the Spanish river basins to create a more efficient connected system, where the supply can be managed based on local needs.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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