Saturday, September 25

Huesca, the paradox of a province with little drinking water at the foot of the Pyrenees

Normal access to drinking water is taken for granted in developed countries. And this is not always the case, for different reasons that they try to banish themselves as far as possible. The poor quality of the soils or the deficiencies in the conduction and supply systems are still widespread problems. The province of Huesca is no stranger to these circumstances and in recent weeks there have been situations on both sides of the scale.

The municipalities of Alerre, Chimillas and Banastás are going to be incorporated into the Huesca Water Network, which will guarantee them a higher quality of mouth water supply. Until now, the residents of these areas were supplied with underground springs and bottled water due to the high level of nitrates, and some even installed osmosis sources in their homes. The local government board of the Huesca City Council has approved the building permit that the Huesca Provincial Council plans to carry out.

After the works worth 600,000 euros to be executed by the provincial institution together with the town councils involved and the Government of Aragon, the council will put into operation the Lomas de Cillas water tank, inactive to date and which represents another step towards The objective of creating a water association that, legally, allows for efficient drinking water management in the capital of Huesca itself and in the 16 surrounding municipalities. The action will also benefit the Manuel Artero de Valentia center, which works with people with intellectual disabilities and which will also be supplied by the Huesca Water Network.

Currently, it has more than 133 kilometers of pipes that supply 17 municipalities and 48 nuclei in the area, as well as a service that also involves the Provincial Council of Huesca, the Hoya de Huesca Region, the Aragonese Institute of Water, to the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation, the Antillón Water Association, the Vadiello Water Association, the Vadiello Water Consortium, the Calcón Water Association and the Central Board of Users of the Guatizalema River.

On the other hand, recent rains have caused incidents related to the supply of water from the mouth in the municipalities of Laguarres and Albalate de Cinca, in Huesca. The tank vehicle of the Prevention, Fire Extinguishing and Rescue Service of the Provincial Council of Huesca has made it easier for residents to fill jugs of water for their daily consumption. This summer, similar actions have been carried out by this institution, with the difference that those mentioned above were the first occasions in which it was made with tap water so that the neighbors could obtain what they needed.

Recently, the town of Lierta has denounced that it has been without drinking water for three years and that a pig farm is projected that may contribute to worsen the health conditions of this small nucleus of just 40 inhabitants belonging to the municipality of La Sotonera, a few kilometers from Huesca. His neighbors have joined in an association that is knocking on new doors after meeting opposition from his city council. This is the latest example of groups that try to stop this type of intensive exploitation increasingly prevalent in Aragon.

As these neighbors explain, since 2018 the spring from which they traditionally source their water from their mouths has levels of nitrate contamination incompatible with human consumption. La Sotonera City Council, which incorporates several population centers, proposed a series of provisional works that tried to alleviate the situation by capturing water directly from the Venia riverbed, upstream from the town. Given the possibility that this channel would dry up, or greatly reduce its flow during the summer, waters from both sources were mixed with the intention of reducing the concentration of nitrates.

the lack of drinking water due to excess nitrates, the cuts in banking services, the difficulties in completing school places due to the transfer of students to Ayerbe or the environmental threats of a macro-farm are some of the problems that the residents of the towns of La Sotonera to the lieutenant of the Justice of Aragon, Javier Hernández, to raise their voices for the “abuse and neglect” they feel for living in rural areas. Hernández has taken note of all the claims and has promised to open files for each of them.

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