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The agony of the Ebro: something more than the transfer

The agony of the Ebro: something more than the transfer


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By José Luis Benito Alonso

The Ebro is a river mortally wounded and its delta even more so. And it is that the river carries less and less flow, since it has gone from an average of 18,000 Hm3 / year at the beginning of the 20th century, to 13,000 in the last 30 years and to less than 10,000 in the 80s.


The Ebro is a river mortally wounded and its delta even more so. And it is that the river carries less and less flow, since it has gone from an average of 18,000 Hm3 / year at the beginning of the 20th century, to 13,000 in the last 30 years and to less than 10,000 in the 80s.

The Ebro is a river mortally wounded and its delta even more so. And it is that the river carries less and less flow, since it has gone from an average of 18,000 Hm3 / year at the beginning of the 20th century, to 13,000 in the last 30 years and less than 10,000 in the 80s. This is due to three causes fundamental: it rains less, there is more forest area that retains and uses water, but above all, consumption in irrigation has increased radically. Of the half a million hectares irrigated in the 1960s in the Ebro basin, there have now been more than 830,000 hectares that use 6,300 Hm3 / year (5,300 Hm3 net consumption / year discounting returns), which is equivalent to six transfers . If the National Irrigation Plan is executed in 2008, 380 would have to be added, and long-term forecasts would require another 800 Hm3, the equivalent of another transfer. More than 50% of the current demands of the basin are from Aragon, which places this region in third place in Spain for water consumption for agricultural use.

On the other hand, a good part of the aforementioned irrigation systems are based on saline areas, with which the return waters carry large amounts of dissolved mineral salts together with pesticides, nitrate and phosphate pesticides used in agriculture, reducing the quality of the water to levels worrisome.

The Ebro not only carries less flow but also carries less suspended solids and this is due to the presence of a network of reservoirs that holds them back, having passed the 30 million tonnes / year carryover before its construction, to the current 0.15 Tm / year Sediments no longer reach the delta, so it cannot be recovered from the compaction and sinking process it undergoes, estimated at 2.5 mm / year, or from the rise in sea level estimated at 5 mm / year. On the other hand, the arrival of sediments at the mouth is not only necessary for the survival of the delta as a territory, but is also essential for activities such as fishing or the cultivation of mussels and oysters.


But there is more. The sediments of the rivers are the main responsible for the formation of the beaches, raw material of the main industry of the east and of Spain, tourism. Without beaches, the goose that laid the golden eggs died. In fact, we are already suffering from that problem because every time a storm occurs in the Mediterranean we see kilometers of beach disappear. Then, as the sediments from the rivers - and especially from the Ebro - do not reach the sea, the beaches cannot be formed naturally with what we have to spend millions of euros for their? Regeneration ?, giving rise to other environmental problems such as the destruction of Posidonia meadows, essential for fish, in an endless spiral of waste. In the US, where they are more pragmatic, they found it more profitable to dismantle a series of dams and bring rivers back to life than to spend millions of dollars on the bottomless pit of beach regeneration. I believe that in the light of all these data, in the east, rather than asking for a transfer, they should demand that swamps in the Ebro basin be demolished in order to survive in the long term.

The controversy about the continuous flow (which is not ecological) of 100 or 135 m3 / sec does not make sense since what the river needs are annual floods of at least 1000 m3 / sec and other higher ones more widely spaced, since at least 700 are required m3 / sec to be able to drag particles of the appropriate size to regenerate the delta and reduce the advance of the salt wedge. Leaving said flow constant is like putting a saline dropper on a seriously ill person, you will ensure that they do not die dehydrated but not that they die.

The reduction in flows means that there is less water to transfer, so it is essential to build new reservoirs at the head to ensure the planned transfer, as the PHN says. The CHE's own Water Commissioner, Federico Rodríguez, has just recognized this in a recent article in which he spoke of the regrowth of the Yesa dam on the Aragón River as a strategic reserve of 850 Hm3 necessary for the transfer. For many this was evident since the future demands foreseen in the Aragon basin are much lower than the 1050 Hm3 that the aforementioned dam is intended to increase.

As we can see, the transfer would only aggravate the agony of the Ebro and its delta. For this reason, it does not seem coherent to ask, on the one hand, for the construction of more reservoirs and the increase in irrigation in the basin - largely to blame for the current situation - and, on the other hand, to oppose the transfer, hiding behind the degradation that the delta would suffer if it were carry out this work, when said requests would have the same negative consequences as the transfer.


The strength of Aragon's opposition to the transfer must reside, in addition to the damage to the delta, in the negative consequences that the current PHN has for this community, which are none other than the flooding of our towns, valleys, natural and cultural heritage ( such as the Camino de Santiago, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) and the displacement of people outside their land due to the construction of new reservoirs in the Pyrenees that will serve as a head-end warehouse for the transfer.- EcoPortal.net

* José Luis Benito Alonso, Biologist.
Pyrenean Institute of Ecology, CSIC Apdo.
64. E-22700 Jaca (Huesca)


Video: Ali Hamidi visits the River Ebro in Spain - Part 1 (July 2022).


Comments:

  1. Suthleah

    What is well organized here is crime. Innocence is a state that is incompatible with feelings of deep satisfaction. Is there life on Mars, is there life on Mars, but there is a thick, thick layer of chocolate I understand: to live with one woman, but with the same one ?! ... “Others are not better” - the inscription on the mirror. Broken bones don't float! Love is like a fire, you won't throw a stick, it will go out.

  2. Tekora

    And variants are possible still?

  3. Akinohn

    Sorry, I would like to suggest a different solution.

  4. Keannen

    Of course you're right. There's something about that, and that's a great idea. I am ready to support you.

  5. Burghere

    I apologize for interfering ... I am aware of this situation. Write here or in PM.



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