Fruit farmers in the Valle de Río Verde, mainly Almuñécar, estimate that crop production will drop by 50% this year because of a lack of water.
Down in the vega, just behind Almuñécar, farmers are cutting their trees back to just a trunk with main branch stumps to save the trees. What fruit there was had already fallen, prematurely to the ground and rotted.
The valley has lost 1,500 hectares of fruit plantations so far, according to the Chairman of the Junta Central de Usuarios de Los Ríos Verde, Seco y Jate, José Manuel Fernández Medina.
In the Valle de Río Verde, 70% of the wells are in trouble; 50% are bringing up salt water and 20% are dry. Almuñécar has 25 wells but they can only use 30% of them (approximately nine).
Things are reminiscent of the 90s when salt water came out of bathroom taps and whole subtropical plantations were wiped out. Domestic consumption this time round, however, is guaranteed thanks to a seabed, fresh-water pipe from a water-treatment plant in Molvízar.
Furthermore, the injection of one cubic hectometres (1,000,000,000 litres) into the Río Verde’s water table this spring staved off salination of the wells back then. Farmers are demanding another injection but this time two cubic hectometres, once the summer has passed.
Editorial comment: farmers think that once Rules Reservoir is connected up, it will be an end to their problems but you needn’t look further than Bermejales Reservoir with a maximum capacity of 91 cu/hm but barely containing 15. Even Rules Reservoir, with a capacity of 111 cu/hm is virtually only half full (55) and there is no demand on it yet! Take a look at Viñuela Reservoir in the Axarquia which stands at only 8.48% of its capacity and ask yourself what is the sense of scraping off more hillsides to plant even more fruit trees.
(News/Noticias: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)