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SPAIN: Water and Politics

Tim Brown pointed out that strife in the Middle East obscures the basic problem: water The same is true in Spain, where some northern regions have an excess of water, while others lack it. Blasco Ibáñez has written novels describing the fight for water in the Valencia area. In 1998 a water plan for Spain was approved. It involved sending Rio Ebro water, which would otherwise disappear into the Mediterranean, to the dry area.

The plan is threatened by politics. The regional government of Aragon organized a huge street protest, claiming that local agriculture needed the water. Probably most of the protesting crowd had no real knowledge of the subject.The Partido Popular, which governs Spain, refused to take part in the protest. It looked as though the Aragonese government was promoting a nationalist movement for political purposes, a dangerous game. The Ebro runs into the Mediterranean in the extreme south of Catalonia, whose attitude in this dispute was not stated.

Ronald Hilton - 10/08/00