THE authorities in Elche have made great efforts over the summer months to conserve valuable water reserves, and have managed to continue irrigating the area’s fields throughout the summer drought period without any problems or shortages.
Their system has proved exceptionally effective and their two main reservoirs, San Enrique and Jose Ramon Garcia Anton, are currently at 100 per cent capacity. The situation is almost unprecedented especially considering the prolonged periods without rainfall experienced throughout the province earlier in the year.
This is in stark contrast to the other major reservoirs in the province, namely Amadorio reservoir which is currently only at 6.25 per cent of its capacity, Beniarrés which registers 14.8 per cent capacity and Guadalest with 23 per cent capacity. President of the irrigation society in Elche, Angel Urbina, said it has been made possible thanks to the efforts of local farmers who have saved water where possible.
They combined their resources from the Jucar-Vinalopo and the wells of Hondón de las Nieves to ensure that farmers were able to rest easy, even if there was no rainfall during the summer period. The town can now guarantee water reserves will last at least until next May, in an area that contains over 500 hectares of land growing a variety of fruits and vegetables and where there is a concentration of greenhouses.
This year saw one of the worst droughts since metrological records began, causing significant environmental effects, destroying more than 182,000 almond trees and causing a 60 per cent decline in harvests across the board. In total the drought generated a loss of an estimated €70 million and affected some 6,000 farmers and 142,000 hectares of crops.