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A plan for water

Transfers are not the solution; It is imperative to optimize its use

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A plan for water

There is widespread agreement in Spanish society that it is necessary, even urgent, to articulate a coherent policy on water management. Climate change will increase frequency of droughts and floods, a very serious problem added to structural difference in water availability between regions. The Government intends to address problem with a national water pact, whose main function — no one is hidden — is to end conflicts between watersheds and regions; Those who have water refuse to provide it to those who claim it, both for matters of political control of a good that will become increasingly scarce and suspicious, well-founded in some cases, that water is wasted or lost in obsolete operating systems or inefficient urban and sporting consumptions.

The government will be wrong if it trusts to solve problem of water with a policy of transfer between watersheds. The expected change in conditions of rainfall obliges to agree a long-term program that acts in an effective way on demand of water, eir for agricultural use or for domestic consumption. This programme must be based on ecological respect for watersheds, because water resources and river maintenance are part of Spanish economic richness. Since it is no longer possible to build more embalming infrastructures, since transfers are no longer reasonable options because droughts will also affect regions with more water, only reasonable solution in medium term is to continue with a policy Calculated from desalination plants and impose a plan of incentives for water purification, where re is still much to be done.

Previous Editorials

The water crisis (29/11/2017)

Coping with drought (15/10/2017)

Water: The Hidden Crisis (02/04/2017)

One of keys to a coherent water policy is to act on demand. It is compulsory to reduce archaic irrigation systems; The new technologies allow important savings in use of water in field (drip irrigation). Systems that squander water have to be eradicated and punished. Farmers and consumers have to accept that water is a scarce commodity; And that, like any long-term policy, decisions have to be taken today, before such scarcity impedes an agreement between parties and between regions and leads to serious political conflict.

When it comes to protecting and regulating a scarce commodity, most efficient mechanism of demand restriction is price. Brussels has warned about structural deficiencies of water in Spain, in particular price policy. If you really want to articulate a national water agreement that is more than just a temporary patch to move problem to next government, you have to act on prices in search of a rationalization of consumption. With prices more in line with current and future value of water — in any case, higher than current ones, with a gradual rise curve, different for each use — savings can be encouraged effectively. All this requires long-term policy and pedagogy, non-electoralism at expense of environment and a strategic and scarce resource.

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