They reject the Ministry’s proposal to gradually increase the ecological flow of the Tagus for the next six years
The proposal of the Ministry to gradually increase the ecological flow of the Tagus during the next six years has met with the frontal rejection of the irrigators of the Tajo-Segura Transfer, who will return to the streets because they consider that the final objective is to “kill the aqueduct ”in the year 2027. On that date, 8.6 cubic meters per second would be reached in Aranjuez, which is equivalent to a decrease in the transfer of 80 cubic hectometres, 40% of the current transfers, unless there are wet cycles and there are abundant reserves at the head.
The irrigators consider the proposal as a “deferred death” of the aqueduct. As LA VERDAD advanced, the Ministry’s approach consists of a gradual increase in the ecological flow of the Tagus in Aranjuez, from the current 6 cubic meters to 8.6, which was the initial proposal, which will have a parallel impact on the Transfer. It would be applied in a staggered manner: 7 cubic meters when the new Tagus Plan comes into force, scheduled for next year; then it will rise to 8 in 2026, to end with 8.6 in 2027, coinciding with the end of the planning cycle.
Each cubic meter of increase in the ecological flow in Aranjuez will translate into a decrease of 31 hectometres per year to transfer, according to the historical series. Irrigation would suffer mainly from this decline, since the part assigned to supplies has priority.
The regional executive denounced “the decision of the central government to cut the transfer by 80 hectometres per year”; while the secretary general of the PSOE, Diego Conesa, supported the proposal of the Ministry. The vice president Teresa Ribera and the general director of Water, Teodoro Estrela, yesterday gave the starting signal for the new basin plans for the 2022-2027 period, including those for the Segura and the Tagus, without going into details, although they were subsequently cleared up the unknown that kept the donor and receiving basins expectant. After days of high-level negotiations, in which the governments of the Valencian Community and Castilla-La Mancha have been involved, the proposal for the new ecological flows avoids applying the 8.6 cubic meters raised last year from the outset, and it is decided to start with 7, as reported by this Editorial Office.
This roadmap, however, does not reassure the irrigators of the Levant; quite the contrary, since they maintain that the Ministry continues with its objectives. Sources from the department of Ribera indicated that gradualism “aims to give time to execute the infrastructure in that period to increase the available resources (purification, reuse, desalination) and the interconnection between them.” In these six years, the Ministry intends to increase the production of desalinated water to try to compensate for the planned cut in the Transfer.
Faced with the rejection of the irrigators and the Government of the Region of Murcia, the Castilian-Manchego Executive of Emiliano García-Page welcomed the proposal of the Ministry, while highlighting the advantages that the neighboring community receives in regard to the upcoming start-up of the ‘Manchega Pipeline’, which will capture the next 50 hectometres from the headwaters of the Tagus to divert them to Ciudad Real, which will also undermine transfers to the Levant. Likewise, the Minister of Agriculture of Castilla-La Mancha, Francisco Martínez Arroyo, stressed that the irrigators in the Alberche area “are going to have a reserve of 60 hectometres.”
Teresa Ribera proposes to increase the flow to 7 m3 / s next year, and go to 8.6 in 2027, while desalination increases
The Minister and the Director General of Water encouraged participation in the six-month allegations period. Teresa Ribera said that solving the problems “common” to all basins requires having a “good” strategy for adaptation to climate change. He said that the hydrological plans “cannot continue to support past practices” that have led to the overexploitation of aquifers, the contamination of water bodies and the deterioration of rivers. He stressed that Spain “is already experiencing serious alterations in the water regime and forecasts warn of a reduction in water availability, an increase in arid or semi-arid surfaces and a greater frequency and intensity of extreme phenomena.”
Fertilizers and Mar Menor
Teodoro Estrela indicated that he is pursuing a reduction of 1,700 hectometres in the allocation of water resources in the coming years in the country as a whole. He stressed, like the minister, that desalination will play an important role. In his opinion, there have been no significant advances in the state of the water bodies, since the surface water bodies have only improved by 4%, while the underground water bodies have worsened. He warned that the use of agricultural fertilizers that pollute water bodies will be limited, an aspect that was not in the previous plans.
The Page Government wants to activate the ‘Manchega Pipeline’ as soon as possible, which will also reduce the Transfer
He made reference to the environmental recovery of the Mar Menor, the Ebro Delta, the Albufera de Valencia, the Tablas de Daimiel and Doñana. Referring to the Mar Menor, he alluded to the “problems caused” in the coastal lagoon “by an excess of fertilizers”, and said that in many cases the farmers did not know in what quantities they were using them.