CHJ responds to the request for water to supply Benidorm by declaring a drought emergency

CHJ responds to the request for water to supply Benidorm by declaring a drought emergency
CHJ responds to the request for water to supply Benidorm by declaring a drought emergency

The Júcar Hydrographic Confederation (CHJ) has declared the drought emergency of the system Marina Baixa in the Júcar basin. The decision announced by the public body for the management of the basin came yesterday, Wednesday, a day after the Water Consortium of this region regretted the administration’s refusal to guarantee More water for urban consumption for tourist and second-line coastal municipalities this summerBut this does not guarantee more water, despite the demands of the Consortium that brings together the main municipalities in the region.

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Guaranteed

However, the president of the Hydrographic Confederation, Miguel Polo, in clear allusion to this demand collected by INFORMACIÓN, assured that the urban supply is “guaranteed” thanks to the Mutxamel desalination plant and the plants of the Taibilla Canal Association, without commenting on the right of the region to obtain resources from the basin itself. He insisted, however, that urban supply is a “priority” for the Confederation and that only restrictions on irrigation are contemplated.

Saving water without shipping it

In its statement, the CHJ merely notes that the emergency level has been declared, and in light of this scenario it calls for “once again the need to promote savings and responsible consumption of the resource as effective measures to combat drought.” The drought emergency refers to the maximum degree of scarcity.

Chart on the drought situation in the Júcar basin

The Júcar drought plan does not automatically guarantee higher flow rates. However, it only allows for the awarding of emergency works that improve and guarantee supply without the need for an environmental impact statement or public tender. If a supply well breaks down, it could be repaired almost immediately without months of paperwork.

The fact that CHJ will send more water to avoid any incident does not depend on this declaration of emergency, according to sources from the Marina Baja Water Consortium.

Eleven hectometres, wherever they come from

The new Júcar Basin Plan, approved in January 2023, authorises the provision of 11 hectometres of external resources to the region annually, either through the Mutxamel desalination plant or water from the Júcar basin itself. However, this body has only authorised the sending of the flows from the desalination plant, which the municipalities of Benidorm, La Vila Joiosa, La Nucía, Alfàs del Pi, Polop, Altea and Finestrat buy at 0.80 euros per cubic metre.

The Consortium has requested that the 6 hectometres it has authorised be completed with water from the Júcar, thus covering the peak tourist season, which currently involves a daily human consumption of 120,000 cubic metres, 45,000 in the city of Benidorm alone.

The idea would be to use the resources from the Alarcón reservoir, which is now at more than 60% of its capacity with 700 hectometres. The transfer would use the infrastructure of the Tajo-Segura transfer to Murcia, as well as those of the Taibilla Canal Association network to the Rabasa reservoir in Alicante, and then use the Marina Baja Water Consortium pipeline from that point to Fenollar and Amadorio, as was done in 2000 and 2016.

Pre-alert, alert and emergency

The system of the Lower Marina The country entered into a drought pre-alert last April, went into alert in May and has now reached this emergency declaration despite the fact that it should have been resolved much earlier, according to sources from the Water Consortium.

The Guadalest reservoir, which barely stores 3.5 hectometres, in a recent image

Reservoirs

The reservoirs of Amadorio and Guadalest add up to more than four hectometres. Below that level is when an emergency is declared. But if they exceed that barrier at this time – with 2 hectometres in Amadorio and 3.5 in Guadalest- It is not because of the accumulated rainfall. It is because of the external contributions they have received for months from the desalination plant. honeydew to guarantee urban supply. The shortage emergency in the Marina Baixa contrasts with the general situation of the Júcar, which has started the summer with reservoirs above 51% of their capacity, although with a deficit of rainfall that has forced the implementation of irrigation restrictions in several of the exploitation systems into which the Júcar demarcation is divided.

In order to minimise the problems that the current drought situation may cause, the Júcar Hydrographic Confederation is calling for responsible use of water, both at home and municipal level. For this reason, the Organisation is urging municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants to implement the measures contemplated in their emergency plans for drought situations, and is inviting towns with smaller populations to promote similar saving measures.

In urban areas, it is recommended to reduce non-essential uses, such as ornamental fountains or street sweeping, reducing watering of gardens to a minimum and doing so at night, limiting or prohibiting car washing or filling swimming pools, reducing pressure in the network at night to avoid leaks, as well as contacting large industrial or hotel consumers to reduce consumption as much as possible.

In the domestic sphere, the CHJ has launched a campaign with the aim of reducing citizens’ consumption to 90 l/day, reducing shower time, loading the washing machine or dishwasher to the maximum, repairing small leaks and turning off the tap when it is not essential.

 
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