Spanish regions squabble over water

Plan to divert river water to Barcelona outrages people of water-scarce Andalucia.

    The dry Catalonia river reflects the lack of rain 
    in Spain over the last few weeks EPA
    Francesc Baltasar, the Catalan minister of environment said: "We are now going through a phase in which we are trying to push measures to economise water so that we will not have to apply restrictions on our people."
     
    The measures include a ban to fill swimming pools or watering gardens.
     
    Controversy
     
    But one of the most controversial solutions is to divert the path of rivers to get water to the driest regions.
     
    The plan has left people living in the southern region of Andalucia, who rely on their own scarce water supplies for agriculture and tourism, outraged.
     
    One resident told Al Jazeera: "We shouldn't be giving our water because when we needed water no one suggested bringing water from the Ebro River for us, and Andalucia has always been one of the driest provinces."
     
    Another man was just as angry: "Why are they taking water from our desalination plant here? And they're not sending water to us here when you've seen how dry our land is - it’s unbelievable!"
     
    Tackling industries
     
    But the Spanish government believes desalination can solve the country's water problems, Moshiri says.
     
    They say hundreds of plants have been built across the country to keep salt separated from the sea water, making it drinkable.
     
    Ramon Cuido, the director of Acuamed, a state company set up by Spain's Socialist government, said: "Desalination is a solution because it's the absolute guarantee of having water, it doesn't depend on the climate."
     
    Others believe the problem should be tackled differently.
     
    Antonio Figuero from the Malaga-based Ecologists in Action, said: "It [Spain] is the country in the world with the most number of reservoirs per person and yet it's one of the countries which suffers most drought."
     
    "Really, it's down to bad use of water.
     
    "The solution is to tackle the industries who use the most water, like agriculture, and tell them to modernise and control their use of water,"  Figuero said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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