THE mayoress of Almuñecar, Trinidad Herrera Lorent, has launched an impassioned plea to the Junta de Andalucia regional government to come to the municipality’s immediate aid, via a letter to the Territorial Delegate for the Environment which the EWN has seen.
The letter paints a somewhat bleak picture regarding water resources in the area, and a lack of urgency and effort by the Junta to resolve the crisis. In it, the official highlights the importance of agriculture to the Costa Tropical’s economy, and calls for assistance to improve the area’s inefficient water infrastructure, which she describes as “a crucial issue for the region.”
Representatives of all major political parties are unanimous in their support, and they have worked together with the Commission of Irrigators from Almuñecar, Jete, and Otivar to form a second commission entitled ‘Right bank of the Rio Verde’ in order to present a united front.
The valley suffers issues each summer, but this year is set for a severe drought which “may devastate 11,950 hectares of crops”, and bring about the catastrophic intrusion of seawater into the river’s aquifier.
Despite numerous public petitions organised by Costa Tropical councils and the two commissions, emergency measures have not been implemented, leading to this letter, which requests that the Junta study the need to officially declare an alert of drought in the area of the Verde and Jete valleys.
The proposed actions follow the Emergency Management and Water Acts of Andalucia, with the latter stating that, by law, the Junta must provide funding to begin infrastructure work for the modernisation of irrigation systems, since they should be considered ‘works of interest’ to Andalucia.
The mayoress requests that the Junta speak with the national administration in order to release these funds, but that they should alter the criteria by which funding is only granted following a fully-approved plan, since this is an emergency and a draft should suffice for now.
She also urges the Junta to send readings from their piezometers with the “utmost urgency,” since the council have not received any updates since February and it is vital that they are able to monitor the state of the aquifier given the current crisis.
Finally, the official pleads with the Junta to “conserve and adapt” the riverbeds and public channels in Almuñecar and La Herradura, as per Article 25 of the Local Government Law and ruling by the High Court of Justice.