Couple of weeks ago we got a water bill, we were pleased to see it was not a “William”, you know a serious bill! It’s more than the financial aspect of course, though in the present climate it’s good to keep outgoings down. No the real issue is the use of precious resources.
If you think about environmental matters, and shouldn’t we all, you cannot be in Spain long without realising how little water there is. It’s easy to get a false impression living in the Vega Baja because of the centuries old irrigation system. Do not be fooled though there is a real water shortage.
That’s why it’s important to save water whenever and however you can. What you do in your home and garden does make a difference.
Everyone lives in a river basin. Even if we don't live near the water, we live on land that drains to a river or estuary or lake, and our actions on that land affect water quality and quantity far downstream.
When rain falls on your street, roof or patio, what stream or river will it flow through on its way downhill towards the sea? When you drain your bath or shower or sink, where does the water go? When you turn on your tap to get a drink of water, where does the water come from. It’s our belief we should all be asking ourselves these questions.
Although Spain has lead the way in the setting up of controls and regulations it often appears that the political power is there but not the political will. Spain was one of the first countries in the world to create river basin agencies in 1926. In 1986 all surface and ground after went from private to public ownership. However the political pressures on the organisations that regulate the water are great. Property developers, growers, the tourist industry all want more water than there is.
What can we do? Two things I suppose, first do make every effort to save water on the home front and second become involved in a public campaign to save the Segura river basin. The WWF put out a report in May 2006 laying out the problems and what they could lead too. Having spent several extended holidays in Australia we have witness the death of the Murray Darling basin, we don’t want to see things get as bad here. It may be a smaller scale but it will be just as much an environmental disaster.
As I said on the Canal Vega Baja Life programme only this week we should not just be saying the waters not fit to drink and filter it. We should also look at the bigger picture and put our efforts into ensuring that there is a decent water supply here so that everyone has decent drinking water and the preservation of natural habitat takes priority over development.
THINK GLOBAL ACT LOCAL
Note: Adams Ale is what my late father called water.