Wednesday, March 22

Social entities blame PP, Cs and Vox for unleashing a war between farmers over Doñana water

An initiative that “has confronted workers within the agricultural sector itself.” This is one of the consequences that, according to several organizations integrated in the Andalusian Social Water Table, derives from the bill promoted by PP, Cs and Vox in the Andalusian Parliament to amnesty more than 1,400 hectares of illegal irrigation in the Corona Norte de Doñana that are depleting the aquifer of the National Park. For this reason, they demand that this “false step” be reversed and that any proposal to review the current regulations be undertaken with sufficient guarantees and not with a procedure that “lacks rigor”.

Neither the Strawberry Plan nor the closure of wells stop the looting of water in Doñana

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The bill to modify the Special Management Plan for the Doñana Forest Crown, approved in 2014 by the Junta de Andalucía and which determined which soils have the right to irrigation and which do not, which also comes to “generate expectations in the most speculative agricultural sector” and “puts the good image and brand at serious risk Doñana International”. This has been revealed in a public complaint by the organizations AEOPAS (Spanish Association of Public Supply and Sanitation Operators), CCOO of Andalusia, Ecologists in Action, Facua, FNCA (New Water Culture Foundation), Savia Foundation, Greenpeace, SEO /BirdLife, WWF and the Andalusian Network for the New Water Culture.

The initiative of the three right-wing formations is based on recognizing the right to irrigation of these more than 1,400 hectares, which currently obtain water illegally from an aquifer officially declared overexploited since 2020. Of course, who has the power to supply the water is the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation (CHG), which has already reiterated that it will not grant permits to the owners of these lands. So there is “no guarantee of water availability,” so the proposition “will exercise unfair competition between farmers.”

Legislative clash of great caliber

The very path chosen to develop this regulation, a bill, is “unacceptable” for these social groups, since it avoids the participation of administrations and organizations such as the CHG itself. In addition, “any reference to the serious administrative and legal difficulties that this modification will generate in Andalusia, Spain and Europe is omitted”, as many regulations “come into conflict”: the Guadalquivir Hydrological Plan, the Habitats Directive, the Directive of Birds and the Water Framework Directive of the European Union, the recent sentence of the courts of the European Union that condemns Spain for not safeguarding the aquifer and the opinions of UNESCO on Doñana.

The thing does not end there, because it also collides with the Andalusian Forestry Law, the proposed regulation to curb deforestation and forest degradation promoted by the EU and with the law of the Transfer of Tinto-Odiel-Piedras to the Guadalquivir. With this, in addition, the commitment of the Government of Spain to remove Doñana before 2025 from the international list of threatened wetlands of the Ramsar Convention is also prevented.

Credibility of the Doñana brand

The criticism goes along the lines expressed by the central Executive through the Secretary General for the Environment, Hugo Morán, who insisted that there will be no water for these crops no matter how much the Andalusian Government regularizes them. But apart from the environmental issue, these social movements lament that “the work and effort to defend the credibility of the Doñana brand products is thrown away”, already affected on more than one occasion “by problems of illegal uses of land and water and, sometimes, by unacceptable situations of the workforce employed”.

Ultimately, these groups are not closed in band but consider that any revision of the plan, as also pointed out by the Andalusian PSOE, has to follow “the same procedures that were necessary for its approval.” Only in this way, agriculture in the area of ​​Doñana – “a sector of indisputable social and economic importance for the entire region” – will be able to “send messages of rigor, commitment to sustainability and responsibility towards consumers”.