The Junta de Andalucía has warned that "in summer, if not one more drop of water falls", it will be necessary to use tankers to transport water to supply the population in areas where the drought is more extreme. This was announced last week by the regional president, Juan Manuel Moreno, and this Tuesday, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Carmen Crespo, confirmed that this is one of the extreme measures proposed in the new and latest strategy against drought ― the regional administration has already approved three plans so far in the legislature.
Andalusia is thus following the path of Catalonia, which has already confirmed that its capital will be supplied with tankers in March if rainfall remains as low. The Andalusian government, however, is not going to wait for the reservoirs to be at 16% of their capacity, which is the limit established by the Generalitat, but will depend on each basin and the quality of the water in the reservoir, according to Crespo.
The tankers being considered have a capacity of 40,000 cubic metres of drinking water or 100,000 cubic metres of raw water to be desalinated or treated through the drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) of the affected municipalities. The cost of transporting these boats amounts to 10 million euros – the largest – a sum that has not been contemplated in the new strategy announced by the Junta, Drought Plus, which amounts to 70.9 million, because it would be borne exclusively by the municipal companies that manage the water, with the collaboration of the central government "as is the case in Catalonia". the Minister specified. The regional executive has limited itself to informing these operators so that they begin to close contacts with the companies that manage these tankers and "ask the Secretary of State to support", Crespo explained.
The ports of Malaga and Algeciras are already prepared to receive these ships in the event that they are necessary, the minister said. It is precisely the area of the Costa del Sol, in Malaga, and the Campo de Gibraltar, in Cadiz, that are of most concern and those that would be supplied with this system, said the minister, who recalled that in the drought of 1995 tankers already left Huelva for Cadiz to guarantee water to their neighbors.
However, the Board hopes that this measure will not be put into practice because the rest of those included in this new plan and that do depend on the regional administration will work, although the Board will also demand that the State get involved in the financing of the almost 71 million in which it has been calculated. These include the preparation of boreholes, the promotion of infrastructures for tertiary treatment plants in treatment plants that allow reclaimed water to be obtained, the improvement of DWTPs, the installation of Drinking Water Treatment Plants (DWTPs) or the conditioning of portable desalination plants. According to the minister, these measures against drought are only contemplated by the Andalusian Government. "Our water governance is very different from that of Catalonia," he remarked.
The Drought Plus plan is a strategy that could be called intermediate while the fourth anti-drought plan is being finalized, which is to be approved in January 2024. The previous three, which amount to about 300 million euros and were launched at the start of Moreno's second term, are 95%, 85% and "largely executed", respectively, according to Crespo, and bring together 1,097 works, 111 of them of large infrastructures, of which 90 are under execution and another 52 are in tender. In no case has it been proposed to redefine the type of agricultural crops that prevail in the most affected areas, as has just happened with the new Doñana agreement signed between the Government and the Junta.