The Mesa del Agua de Almería has taken stock of the hydrological year 2020/21 that has just ended showing its “utmost concern” about problems “that have been occurring for too many years” that “in many cases have not yet been solved” and that “endanger the continuity of irrigation in the province and that would mean a brutal fall in the economy of the entire province”, as explained by the spokesman of the group, José Antonio Fernández Maldonado.
For all these reasons, they warn that the new hydrological year 2021/22, which has just begun and will last until 30 September next year, is full of “uncertainty and threats that could seriously damage an economic pillar for the province as important as irrigators”. The Mesa del Agua de Almería proposed some time ago an irrigation model based on the mixing of water from different sources, with the priority objective of reducing as much as possible the extractions from underground aquifers. For this reason, the water needs for 2030 are much greater than the current water deficit, and are estimated at 200 cubic hectometres per year, as these estimates are based on new water resources that will progressively replace the important role that groundwater has been playing in the main production areas of Almeria. And they also warn about water quality in different areas. In other words, we are not only talking about quantity, but also about the need for quality water.
Therefore, they warn of “the risk of the total suppression of the water transfers that reach the Almanzora and Levante of the province, the lack of pipelines that can be distributed through the Campo de Níjar or the difficulty that is being encountered in various issues affecting the Comarca del Poniente, without forgetting the serious supply problems that we have just experienced in the area of Bajo Andarax”.
The Mesa del Agua de Almería is once again demanding that the Government of Spain urgently establish a maximum price of 30 cents for desalinated water for irrigation, as stated in the fourth additional provision of Law 1/2018 of 6 March. This additional provision, in force since 7 March 2018, states that “the Government will enable the necessary subsidy mechanisms so that the price of desalinated water for irrigation does not exceed 0.30 euros per cubic metre”.
Successes in the last hydrological year
The Mesa del Agua has also stressed that “some of our demands have already been met by the competent administrations in the field” and therefore wanted to show their “gratitude” for putting an end to demands that were and are “very necessary for the continuity of irrigation”. They have given as an example the approval in the Comarca del Poniente of the 10 hm3 extension of the Balerma desalination plant where the project is already being put out to tender, for which they would like to thank the willingness shown by the Spanish Government through Acuamed and its representative in Almeria, Javier Alcántara. The progress achieved in the Recovery Plan for the Poniente Almeriense Aquifer. In addition, the Directorate General for Water of the Andalusian Regional Government has ensured that the Central Board of Users of the Poniente can become a ‘CUMA’ (Community of Users of Groundwater Bodies), the first of its kind in Andalusia, according to Article 54 of the Andalusian Water Law. For this reason, the JCUAPA would like to thank the territorial delegate of the Junta in the province, Arancha Martín Moya, as well as the Director General of Water Resources Planning, Fernando Delgado, the Deputy Director Jorge Robles, and the civil servants Jesús Casado and Carlos López, for their work.
Similarly, another of the achievements of the Mesa del Agua is the signing of the agreement signed between the CGUAL and the Almeria City Council to obtain desalinated water from the plant located in the provincial capital, which has been essential for the crops in this area “not to die” due to the lack of water.