Aznar starts ‘common sense’ water plan
25 February 2004
ALICANTE – Spanish prime minister José María Aznar said Wednesday that the
transfer of water from the River Ebro basin is a “rational solution” to the country’s water problems.
The controversial scheme will take water from parts of the Ebro basin in the north east of Spain and feed it into water-starved parts of southern Spain.
But it has been criticised by ecological groups for harming the environment in the Ebro basin.
Aznar made these comments in Villena, near Alicante, in south-east Spain, where he placed the first stone in the operation.
A 13,000-metre-long tunnel will link Alicante and Valencia at a cost of EUR 67.5 million.
Aznar, who celebrated his 51st birthday Wednesday, said he chose this day to start the much-criticised Hydrological Plan.
Aznar, who will not stand at the next general election on 14 March, added that the water problem was one of the most urgent since he came to power eight years ago.
He added: “Many Spaniards suffer from the need for water which causes a deficiency and deterioration in the quality of life.”
Aznar said his government had maintained an attitude of “decisión and courage” to start the “common sense” Hydrological Plan to optimise the use of water.
It would also modernise irrigation and to start to remove the salt “to assure the transference from basins which were always full of water while guarding the interests of the environment”.
Aznar said that there had been a long-running debate over the the Plan but added that it would be “better for all”.
He added that the plan included measures to improve and conserve the delta of the Ebro which would “help all and harm no-one”.
The plan is to cost around EUR 17 billion of entire budget destined to manage issue of water and stop the problem of damage to the environment caused by lack of water
Aznar said: “Spain would stand at the forefront in the question of hydrological resources.”
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news