Home SPAIN Madrid enters water war and opens to constitutional appeal against Tagus hydrological plan Madrid

Madrid enters water war and opens to constitutional appeal against Tagus hydrological plan Madrid

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Isabel Díaz Ayuso, President of the Community of Madrid.
Isabel Díaz Ayuso, President of the Community of Madrid.Fernando Sanchez (Europa Press)

The community of Madrid, headed by Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has joined the water fight and is ready to go to the Constitutional Court if necessary. state decree Which controls the use of the Tagus River. A contract awarded by Canal de Isabel II states this, and won by the Ramon y Cajal law firm, to study, and where appropriate litigate, nine aspects of regulation that open a new front against the nation’s government. headed by Pedro Sánchez. Díaz Ayuso himself had already warned them in May 2022: “The Tagus Hydrological Plan seeks to reduce Madrid’s water.” In this way, the capital region becomes involved in a struggle involving Castilla-La Mancha (where the water is collected), Andalusia, the Valencian Community and Murcia (where it is received, and which also announced its appeal to the Supreme is) court). And not only that. With municipal and regional elections on May 28 in full swing, Díaz Ayuso’s government has found yet another reason to clash with Sánchez, with whom it has already clashed over health, fiscal, economic or international matters Is.

The conflict has its origins in the Valmayor Reservoir, which has a capacity of 124.4 cubic hectares, the second largest reservoir in the Community of Madrid. According to the regional government, 1.7 million Madrid residents depend on it for drinking, 25% of the population. And the new rules stipulate pre-authorization from the state that the reservoir can receive water from the Albarche River through the San Juan-Valmere transfer.

“This has not happened in any autonomous community,” Ayuso complained about a year ago. “Never, within the same concession, has this prior authorization been requested.”

But that is not the only point of contention, according to Madrid, which will invest €35,000 to prepare for a legal battle that could last at least four years.

Therefore, According to the document consulted by this newspaper, Canal de Isabel II considers that its interests are affected which refers to the “maintenance of the principle of supremacy of the use of water to supply the population at all times and especially in situations of drought or scarcity”; “the establishment of an authority before making a transfer between reservoirs of different exploitation systems of demarcation”; “Regimes of ecological flows in water masses”; “the impossibility of establishing ecological flows at the Las Nieves and Pozo de los Ramos dams due to the lack of regulation capacity”; or “absence of justification for the established production flow”; “Lack of definition of parameters and quality status of ecological flows defined”.

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Aerial view of the Tajo-Segura Transfer Channel in the town of Almonacid de Zorita in Guadalajara.
Aerial view of the Tajo-Segura Transfer Channel in the town of Almonacid de Zorita in Guadalajara.paco bridge

“The canal does not have its own legal services,” explains a government spokesman. “For this reason, an office has been rented, because as we have been saying for a long time, we are not in favor of the Tagus hydrological plan, because it harms the people of Madrid by reducing the water for the Valmayor reservoir ,” he adds. “The royal decree and all its edges will be studied in depth to see how to proceed.”

The agreement details that Madrid is ready to accelerate all its options: “The actions to be taken in the legal defense of Canal de Isabel II will include the study of documentation, the preparation of reports, (…) the preparation and decision of the defense strategy (…) and, in general, other judicial or extra-judicial actions that are appropriate by law in all cases, including the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, and until a final decision is made in the process or procedures that lead to compliance with the object of the contract are necessary or essential to the process”.

Madrid’s community is ready to go as far as the Constitutional Court deepens the strategy implemented by its government since Díaz Ayuso came to power in August 2019. In the nearly four years since then, the Madrid executive has gone to court against twelve decisions of the state of all kinds: from the management of the pandemic through fiscal policy to the educational curriculum. And now it is the turn of water.

What is the origin of the conflict? The Spanish government approved on 24 January the hydrological plan of 12 river basins that are within the capacity to extend through several autonomous communities. For the first time, the Ministry of Ecological Transition set an ecological flow for the Tagus River, as required by five Supreme Court decisions, European regulations and water legislation for 22 years. But setting that flow – at least the water that must circulate – has consequences beyond the basins in Alicante, Murcia and Almería. Because this flow would reduce the amount of water that is transferred from the headwaters of the Tagus to the Mediterranean and used for domestic consumption, but mainly for irrigation of crops.

Since then, the most important control points have been in the Community of Madrid, specifically in Aranjuez, where a minimum flow will be progressively established: by 2023 it should be 7 cubic meters per second, in 2026 it will rise to 8 cubic meters and in 2027, up to 8.6.

Control center of the Canal de Isabel II.
Control center of the Canal de Isabel II.

As a result, government sources estimated that worst-case transfers to the Mediterranean could be reduced to a range of 70 to 110 cubic hectares per year (the average annual transfer is about 320 cubic hectares). But, to meet this shortfall, the ministry is committed to desalinated water.

Faced with this design of devolution, the governments of Andalusia (PP), Murcia (PP) and the Valencian Community (PSOE, Podemos and Compromis) have not only supported mobilization in rural areas, but condemned the destruction of thousands of jobs. is of. , according to his calculations. He has also announced his intention to go to the Supreme Court. And now he has a new company in that judicial strategy: the Community of Madrid.

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