Where has all the water gone?

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EXPLOITED: The mountain aquifers around Los Velez are drying up.

THE people and councils of the Los Velez area who, fed up with watching as the Sierra de Maria-Sierra de Orce aquifer which they have historically had the right to make use of is exploited to transform dry land into irrigated horticultural land, have found support in an unexpected quarter, as Velez-Rubio born Ciudadanos senator Luis Crisol, has asked the government for answers.

Over the last 15 years, locals have watched in dismay as more and more land in Maria (Almeria), and Orce (Granada), the Guadalquivir hydrographical basin, has been converted to grow lettuce and broccoli, and the springs in the area gradually dry up as the aquifer is tapped into.

The new areas are extracting an estimated five million cubic metres of water per year, leading to a drastic reduction in the water in Los Velez’s springs, so much so in fact, that those at higher altitudes have dried up with the current drought serving only to worsen the situation.

Chirivel, Velez Blanco and   

Velez Rubio, have been fighting for their rights, recorded in the Register of Waters of the Segura Hydrographic Confederation, in accordance with the contents and regulations of the 1985 Waters Law, and their cause has now been taken up by the newly formed Platform for the Defence of Los Velez’s Water.

Yet the platform’s letters and requests for explanations have so far been ignored, a situation they hope will now change as the matter has been taken to the national government by Ciudadanos senator for Valencia, Luis Crisol.

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