Thursday, 19 November 2009

Vast reservoir project for Guadiaro River, downriver from Jimena, in planning stage

(Agencies) Despite an anti-reservoir policy that has guided the Junta de Andalucía's water management over the last few years, the Agencia Andaluza del Agua is planning a vast reservoir, of 120 cubic hectometres, on the Guadiaro River (photo) with capacity to supply the Western Costa del Sol in case of emergency or drought. "Madness", according to environmentalists. The technicians drawing up the anteproyecto (preliminary design) have taken over two years to come up with the design for a new reservoir, to be called Gibralmedina, that will offer "full" supply to the Campo de Gibraltar, according to sources at the Environment Council.>
The reservoir is to be built downriver from Jimena and will contain 120 hm3, which is almost twice the size of the reservoir at Charco Redondo (72 hm3) or Guadarranque (78 hm3), the present water supply for the area.

The project, in the early planning stages, has not met with opposition from landowners or Councils of the Campo. The area's principal environmental groups, however, see the idea as a renaissance of the failed plans once put forward by the old Confederación Hidrográfica del Sur (now the Agencia Andaluza del Agua -AAA) to build two reservoirs in the Genal Valley.

The local coordinator for Agaden, Quico Rebolledo, referred to the idea as "absolutely barbarous" and expressed his total opposition to the project, which in his opinion, "only responds to the wish to cover demands by farmers and planned urbanizations in the area." Rebolledo said that his group had held several meetings with the AAA over the last few months, but "only in the context of finding a solution to the pollution in the [Guadiaro] river and the high mortality of its fish." He added that an idea had come up for a small, inflatable dam to supply local farmers, "but nothing of this size."

The spokesperson for the Grupo de Trabajo del Valle del Genal, Andrés Pérez, who is also a Professor of Vegetable Biology at Málaga University, said he was surprised by the project, which would "seriously" impact the Guadiaro River, one of the main rivers of the Southern Basin that is born in the Ronda mountains and comes out at Sotogrande. Pérez warned that "they can create as many projects as they like, but it's another matter to complete them."

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