The Regional Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Carmen Crespo, has inaugurated the emergency works to improve the water supply guarantee for the municipalities of the Almeria region of Almanzora, whose public investment has been close to 6.8 million euros. Crespo highlighted the fact that this action is “one of the most emblematic in the province”, has been carried out “with great urgency” and “has been well executed in time and form despite the difficulties arising from the rise in production costs and the necessary supply”.
Among others, the councillor was accompanied by the mayors of Cuevas del Almanzora, Antonio Fernández, and Olula del Río, Antonio Martínez, as well as the president of the Association of Municipalities of the Almanzora Valley, Antonio Ramón Salas, and councillors from Albox. On behalf of the Andalusian Administration, the general director of Agricultural and Livestock Production, Manuel Gómez, and the territorial delegate for Water in the province of Almería, Antonio Mena, attended the event.
During her speech, Carmen Crespo explained that “this work can have a multiplier effect for the 27 municipalities of the Almanzora” because, although the nearly 18,000 residents of Albox and Olula del Río are the first to benefit from the improvements, the project opens up the possibility that in the future other towns in the region will be able to take advantage of the infrastructure. To this end, as the Councillor informed, the Junta is developing the project of another initiative related to high level supply adapted to this emergency action so that “the work can have continuity and the supply of all these municipalities is guaranteed for the future”.
Specifically, the works inaugurated today have involved the improvement of the pumping systems of the El Saltador-Embalse de Cuevas pipeline and its connection with the Negratín-Almanzora transfer to raise 1.3 hm³ of water to the Tíjola reservoir number four. “A water that is shared by all and that, therefore, makes this work an example of water solidarity between Almeria,” said Crespo, who thanked the municipalities and the association of municipalities that have “worked together around the water.
Currently, the municipalities of Levante, Medio and Bajo Almanzora obtain their water supply from the Cuevas del Almanzora reservoir, the Carboneras desalination plant and the Negratín-Almanzora and Tajo-Segura water transfers.
For his part, the Mayor of Cuevas del Almanzora welcomed this type of work. Antonio Fernández thanked the Junta for its commitment and assured that “we are all aware of the need for water for our agriculture, which is the main engine of our economy”.
Tagus-Segura water transfer
In her speech, the Councillor for Water pointed out that “it is not necessary to increase the ecological flow of the Tagus to 8.6 cubic metres per second” if scientific studies establish that 6 m³/sec is sufficient to be in good conditions, as well as the execution of the purification works at the headwaters and the modernisation of the Canal de las Aves. Crespo stressed that the East of Almeria “is committed to improving the Tagus” but is committed to adjusting to scientific indications because, otherwise, it will be cutting 105 hm³ of water to the Spanish East, “one of the driest lands”.
Carmen Crespo recalled that the Regional Government of Andalusia has sent allegations in this regard and expressed hope that this week “the Council of State will take the allegations into account and the State will make its decision in accordance with the Council of State”. “There is still hope”, said the Councillor, for whom “the allegations presented are exhaustive and logical” in order to preserve 15,000 jobs related to agricultural activity in eastern Spain that could be affected by the increase in ecological flows. At the Andalusian level, the water transfer affects more than 120,000 people in Almería.
Hydraulic works in Almería
In addition to the supply works inaugurated today, Crespo referred in his speech to other water projects in the area, including the Cuevas del Almanzora Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), which “is progressing at a good pace and is already 50% complete”. Regarding these facilities, he pointed out that as well as having an impact on the purification of discharges, “they also give us the opportunity to move forward in our commitment to the province of Almeria to promote works that offer water possibilities and continue to produce the water that farmers need”. These statements refer to the fact that the tertiary treatments at the Cuevas del Almanzora WWTP will make reclaimed water available to irrigators for use on their farms. In relation to this water source, Carmen Crespo recalled that the Junta’s objective is to add 30 hm³ of reclaimed water to the province of Almeria, of which 18 hm³ would correspond to the Poniente and 12 hm³ to the Levante area.
This initiative is part of the numerous actions in terms of purification, upstream supply and restoration of watercourses that the Government of Juanma Moreno has implemented in Almeria in recent years and which have involved the mobilisation of 183 million euros. The Minister said that this public investment has made possible the inauguration of the treatment plants of Antas, Huércal Overa, Tahal, Alcudía de Monteagud and Benitorafe in 2022; and announced that in 2023 there will be an opportunity to inaugurate the WWTPs of Alhama de Almería and Mojácar and to begin work on the Fondón treatment plant.
With regard to the Drought Decrees, Crespo stressed that “the first is 100% completed, the second is 50% complete and the Andalusian Government is preparing a third Drought Decree that will also include fundamental works for this province that the people of Almeria have been waiting decades for and which are now arriving”.