Madrid (EFE) that has raised so much controversy among the autonomies involved.
In this way, the Government’s proposal contemplates that the ecological flow as it passes through Aranjuez (Madrid) rises from six to seven cubic meters per second from January 1, 2023, to eight from 2026 and to rise to 8.65 in 2027.
The Council of Ministers has approved this Tuesday the Royal Decree that contemplates the hydrological planning of the Western Cantabrian, Guadalquivir, Ceuta, Melilla, Segura, Júcar, in addition to the Spanish part of the rivers shared with Portugal (Miño-Sil, Duero, Tagus, Guadiana) and with France (Eastern Cantabrian and Ebro).
Investment of 22,844 million
The Minister for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, has indicated that with these hydrological plans they cover 86% of the national territory, affect 65% of the population and have an investment of 22,844 million, of which slightly more than 10,000 million are state investment.
“Never ever” have so many resources been allocated in Spain for investment and management in water, the minister emphasized, to clarify that the availability of water in river basin districts has decreased by 12% since 1980 due to climate change.
Regarding the Tajo-Segura transfer, and which has generated so much controversy between Castilla-La Mancha, governed by the PSOE and the Valencian Community (PSOE), Murcia and Andalusia (both from the PP), Ribera has indicated that with these plans “it ensures the availability of water in the areas with the greatest risk and with the greatest concern about the availability of this resource.”
Gradual application of the ecological flow in the Tagus
The minister has stressed that a gradual application of this ecological flow in the Tagus has been chosen, that is, deferred over time to “reconcile legislative requirements with the social, economic and environmental impact.”
Between 2014 and 2018, around 829 hm3 were transferred (half for urban supply and the other half for irrigation); However, between June 2017 and March 2018, no water was transferred due to the lack of rain; from 2018 to 2022 that figure rose to 1,229 hm3.
“We believe that we must give ourselves time so that the investments that have already started and on which we want to continue investing in these years, allow us to have additional resources.”
Maximum transfer reduction
In this way, the vice president explained that “in the worst case scenario”, the maximum reduction in water that could be transferred is between 70 and 110 cubic hectometres, and investment in desalination plants and irrigation efficiency, among others, They allow a minimum of 140 hm3 to be available, “a volume greater than the water that would no longer be able to be transferred”.
These additional contributions have the advantage that they are manageable, specified Ribera, adding that, on the contrary, no one can control whether it rains or not, but it is possible to control how much is desalted, how much is reused, how these unconventional extraordinary contributions to be used.
He has highlighted the “total” commitment of the Government to the Levant, especially with a group that is enormously important for the production of wealth such as farmers, and has announced that the price of desalinated water will be managed, on average around 34 euros per desalinated cubic hectometre, so that energy is not a problem, until investment in renewables allows management.
Boost to desalination plants
The Ministry has advanced that the desalination plants involved in the communities of the Tajo-Segura transfer will be promoted, so that a total of 827.6 million euros is expected to be invested (386.9 million in Murcia; 288.4 million in Alicante, and 152.3 million in Almería), actions that will be tendered at the end of 2023 and will end before June 2026.
In addition, there will be 450 million for the progressive application of the ecological flow of the Tagus: 231.3 million to expand the salting capacity and 236.7 million to install photovoltaic energy; 97.6 million to promote photovoltaic energy in the Júcar-Vinalopó transfer; 220 million for desalination interconnections and 60 million for reused water in Alicante.
To reduce the energy cost of desalinated water, the Government plans to implement a plan so that each desalination plant has a photovoltaic park associated with it, so that by 2025 there could be up to 110 more hm3 of water in Alicante, Almería and Murcia.
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