The Almeria Water Board held a working meeting to analyse four particularly urgent issues. One of them was the “very worrying” water situation in the province of Almeria, another was the allegations that the irrigation communities are going to present to the Hydrological Plan of the Mediterranean Basins, and the third was the need for the necessary infrastructures to be able to generate 180 cubic hectometres of water from desalination in the province of Almeria, a third on the need for the necessary infrastructures to be able to generate 180 cubic hectometres from desalination in the different districts of Almeria and a fourth point in which the Almeria Water Board has shown its “full support” for the demonstration called for 20 March in Madrid, which will be held with the aim of defending and highlighting the value of the Spanish countryside, which is going through a difficult time that is stifling both agricultural and livestock farms. And where they are calling for more investment in hydraulic regulation works, a review of the hydrological plans and a reduction in the electricity bill that irrigators are facing, which has risen by more than 300% compared to last year. The demonstration was called by Fenacore and the agricultural organisations Asaja, Coag and Upa, among others.
After the meeting, the spokesman for the Almeria Water Board, José Antonio Fernández Maldonado, explained that the water situation in the province “is very worrying”, although there are different shortages in each of the districts of Almería. For example, in the Adra area there is water, although it is of poor quality and has high conductivity. In the Poniente region, for the moment, there are no supply problems, although there are small problems in terms of water quality. In the Comarca de Níjar and in the Berja area there are currently no serious problems. In the Almanzora Region, on the other hand, there are already cuts of around 30% in supply, which could worsen and reach 50% for the spring season. For all these reasons, among other issues, the competent administrations have been asked to speed up the procedures for the use of groundwater.
The Government should comply with the law that sets a maximum price of 0.30 euros for desalinated water for irrigation purposes
The Almeria Water Board has once again demanded that the Spanish Government 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”.
In addition, the Almeria group continues to support the use of renewable energies, especially solar energy, to generate electricity in desalination plants in order to save costs in water production. José Antonio Fernández Maldonado pointed out that the situation for irrigation “is very difficult because we depend on electricity, the price of which has shot up, in addition to the increases in production costs which have also become quite expensive”.
Allegations to the PH of the Mediterranean basins. Desalination and Rules surpluses
The allegations presented to the proposed Hydrological Plan for the Mediterranean basins were also detailed, among which several stand out, for example, that once the needs of the province of Granada have been met, the surpluses from the Rules dam should reach Subsystem IV of Sierra Nevada, which includes the Poniente region of Almeria. Likewise, it has once again called for the completion of the so-called ‘Water Highway’ in the province of Almeria, which would interconnect all the districts and would serve to improve efficiency and management by solving any supply problems that may arise at any point in the province.
The need for desalinated water in the province of Almeria is estimated to require the necessary improvements and infrastructures to achieve a production of 180 cubic hectometres. This would reach 50 in the Almanzora region (with 20 from the Villaricos desalination plant, which has been inoperative for 10 years and still has at least two more years to go before it is operational again, and a further 30 cubic hectometres from a desalination plant to be built by the irrigators of the area with their own funds), a desalination plant that produces 6 cubic hectometres for the irrigators of Adra, to reach a production of 50 cubic hectometres at the Carboneras desalination plant for this area and the region of Níjar, and to reach 70 in Poniente, increasing from 30 to 40 at the Dalías desalination plant and building another 20 cubic hectometre plant that can be expanded to 30 cubic hectometres.
The Almeria Water Board
The following social and economic agents from the province participate in the Almeria Water Board: FEDERACIÓN DE REGANTES DE ALMERÍA (FERAL), JUNTA CENTRAL DE USUARIOS DEL PONIENTE ALMERIENSE, JUNTA CENTRAL DE USUARIOS DEL ALMANZORA, JUNTA CENTRAL DE USUARIOS DE ADRA, AGUAS DEL ALMANZORA SA, COMUNIDAD DE USUARIOS DE AGUAS DE LA COMARCA DE NIJAR (CUCN), COMUNIDAD GENERAL DE USUARIOS DE AGUAS DEPURADAS (CGUAL), ASOCIACIÓN DE REGANTES DE ANDALUCÍA (AREDA), ASAJA, COAG, UPA, REGANTES DE ALMERÍA (REGA), ASEMPAL, COLEGIO OFICIAL DE INGENIEROS AGRÓNOMOS DE ALMERIA and COLEGIO OFICIAL DE INGENIEROS TÉCNICOS AGRÍCOLAS DE ALMERIA.