Farmers Look on Anxiously

Farmers along the Río Verde vega in Almuñécar are fed up with waiting on administrations to sort out the water-table crisis in the valley.

ALM Irrigation Well Vega Rio VerdeThe Junta de Andalucía is the maximum authority on all irrigation affairs, which includes risk to water tables. The Mancomunidad, on the other hand, is the waterboard that controls the utility company which supplies domestic water to all the town on the Costa Tropical, both on the coast itself, as well as those more inland but still within the area consider the Costa Tropical.

It was in July that all the political parties with representatives on the board of the Mancomunidad voted in favour (unanimously) to urge the Junta to get it done.

However, it was not made clear who would do the necessary work to connect the seabed pipe with wells where the water could be injected. Nor was it decided who would pay for it. Who would be the entity that charged farmers for the water because the Mancomunidad has no authority of irrigation water, only domestic water issues.

According to the Councillor for the Environment at the Almuñécar Town Hall, Luis Aragón, the Junta said it can only intervene in “a case of extreme urgency.” For that to exist, such a state must officially be declared. If such a state of emergency were declared, farmers would be denied access to their own wells.

Therefore, so that farmers can continue to pump up what fresh water remains, the Junta issued permission for them to continue to do so until the situation becomes dramatic enough to declare a state of emergency.

The Junta considers that administrations can collaborate in the necessary infrastructure, but not be expected to pay for it. One idea on the table is to impose an extra levy on Mancomunidad water bills to pay for the necessary infrastrucure.

As for José Manuel Fernández, who is the Chairman of the Central Board for irrigation collectives along Río Verde, Río Seco and Río Jate, he holds out the hope that the various administrations will come to some form of agreement before autumn arrives because this lack of rainfall is affecting around 30 wells controlled by the irrigation collectives.

He also pointed out that this one hectometre of water needed to keep the water table healthy is only a temporary measure because until the water-distribution system from the Embalse de Rules down to the coast is in place, its just putting a finger in a leaking dyke.

Editorial comment: one wonders if both adminstrations were run by the same political camp; albeit socialist or conservative one, the problem would have been resolved months ago.

(News: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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