More than 15,000 farmers, irrigators, field workers, companies, citizens of Murcia, Almeria and Alicante, agglutinated in the Water Circle, are demonstrating today, in Madrid, in demand for water and water infrastructure for the Levant, and in defense of its productive sector, based on the so-called “Huerta de Europa”, key in the social and economic fabric of these regions. Under the slogan “In the Levant, without water: desert and unemployment Defend the garden of Europe!, the demonstration will begin at 12 noon on Calle Alcalá and will arrive at 13.30 at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, where there will be a concentration that will conclude at 14.30. In parallel, also today, in the Plaza del Callao in Madrid, 25,000 kilos of fruit and vegetables will be distributed, from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm.
Farmers, companies, cooperatives, unions and, in general, citizens of the provinces of Almeria, Murcia and Alicante, united in the Circle for Water, demand from the Government and the political parties water and hydraulic infrastructures that end the drought situation structural damage suffered by the Levantine countryside. At the same time, they demand a fair price for water that equates the receipt of their homes and irrigation to the rest of the Nation.
The main requests of the Water Circle are:
1) Immediate opening of all well batteries in the Segura basin to alleviate the lack of water: the situation that exists in irrigation in the southeast of Spain is agonizing.
2) Relief irrigation with resources outside the Segura River Basin: millions of fruit trees are in play throughout the Levant, and a transfer of water from the surplus basins is essential.
3) Require the Government that the new tariffs for the Tajo-Segura transfer be made for each cubic meter of water consumed.
4) Implementation of all the proposals included in the Levantine Water Manifesto, made public on October 31th, 2017 (supported, for the time being, by the Valencian Parliament, the Murcia Regional Assembly, the Alicante Provincial Council and for more of twenty-five large town halls) and that are basically summarized in the following pillars:
I. Guarantee the durability of the Tajo-Segura Aqueduct as a basic pillar of the future for our populations.
II. Maximum possible production of existing desalination plants in the demarcation of our territories and use of resources from water regeneration.
III. Execution of hydraulic works that guarantee access to water under equal conditions, both for irrigation and for human consumption.
IV. Implementation of a tariff for irrigation and homes that is fair and proportionate throughout Spain
Details of today’s protest acts, March 7:
1.- DISTRIBUTION OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IN THE PLAZA DE CALLAO:
• 80 m² in the Plaza de Callao enabled for the free distribution of fruits and vegetables produced in the Levant to passers-by and citizens of Madrid (25,000 Kg).
• Opening at 10:00 am, closing at 4:00 pm.
• The distribution of fruits and vegetables will be extended to other points of the capital, to which vehicles will go for their free distribution.
2.- MANIFESTATION UNTIL THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES, FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT
• 10: 30-11: 30 hours: arrival of buses to Plaza de la Independencia; reception and organization of protesters.
• 12:00 hours: start of the demonstration in Calle Alcalá (Plaza de la Independencia).
• Route: C / Alcalá-Cibeles – Paseo del Prado (left lane) – Atocha – Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment.
3. CONCENTRATION AGAINST THE MINISTRY
• From 1:30 p.m.: Reading by person / s of recognized prestige of the explanatory statement of this action and concrete demands to the Government of Spain to achieve a definitive solution in matters of water for the Levant.
• End of Concentration: 2:30 p.m.
Members of the “Circle for Water”
• Communities of Irrigators grouped in the SCRATS (80 irrigation entities) • FECOREVA (Federation of Irrigation Communities of the Valencian Community). Junta Central de Usuarios del VinalopóAlacantí • FERAL (Federación de Regantes de Almería) • Usuarios de regadío de la Cuenca del Segura –Junta de Hacendados de la Huerta de Murcia, JUCERS (Central Board of Irrigating Users of Segura), Juzgado Privativo de Aguas de Orihuela. • Agrarian Unions –UPA, ASAJA, COAG •Employers –CROEM, PROEXPORT, APOEXPA, FECOAM, AGRUPAL, FECAMUR, FEXPHAL, FROET, ATRALME, COEPA, AILIMPO, ASOCIACIÓN DE EMPRESARIOS HORTOFRUTÍCOLAS • Class Unions –CCOO, UGT • Universities of the three provinces of the Levant.
Support of HORTIESPAÑA
The Spanish Interprofessional Organization of Fruits and Vegetables (HORTIESPAÑA) has decided to join this protest act as it considers it essential that agriculture has a “guarantee of water supply” to continue maintaining the economy and the employment of hundreds of thousands of workers.
HORTIESPAÑA considers it essential that Spanish agriculture has a guarantee of constant supply of water to continue maintaining farms, and maintain the level of employment and contribution to GDP that has achieved the agriculture of the Spanish East, becoming a strategic sector in the national economy.
Source: FEPEX, HORTIESPAÑA and PROEXPORT