Agbar, together with the Real Academia de Ciencias Económicas y Financieras (RACEF), organized the event to launch the report “Water in the world - The world of water (Water in a global world under climate change)”, by Jaime Lamo de Espinosa, former Minister of Agriculture and a full member of the RACEF.
The event included the presence of Agbar’s Executive Chairman, Angel Simón, who stressed that “this work is an example of the commitment by the two organizations to the various institutions, knowledge and culture, and to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) defined by the United Nations, the attainment of which must be based on public-private partnership”.
For his part, Jaime Lamo de Espinosa demanded a state agreement on water independently of political and territorial issues, which recovers the plan to connect basins in order to achieve a balanced distribution of water resources according to a strictly technical criterion at times when climate change requires an urgent intervention.
“At present it is clear that Spain needs a big state agreement on water which leads to a national river basin plan and, based on this, another national irrigation plan. This should be carried out with a perspective covering several parliamentary terms, taking these issues which are so essential for the economic and social life of Spain out of the political debate”, maintains Lamo de Espinosa in his report.
“Spain is not a dry country as far as its level of precipitation and groundwater is concerned, but it is as regards their arbitrary distribution. The problem could arise if we did not have water, but that is not the case. For a population of just over 44 million inhabitants, our country’s annual run-off amounts to some 2,500 m3/inhabitant and year, a figure which we can compare with the 1,000 m3 which define a full development index, including agricultural and industrial needs. There is water, including groundwater. Maybe we have not been capable of distributing it. We are faced with a problem of water governance”, according to the member of the Academy.
In his report, Lamo de Espinosa urges the different administrations and the scientific community to reflect on the convenience of connecting the basins with a surplus (North, Douro, Tagus and Ebro) to those with a scarcity (Eastern Pyrenees, Júcar, Segura, Guadalquivir and South), in addition to the connection between the Douro and the Tagus and between the Tagus and the Guadiana. He likewise calls for a substantial increase in state investment in water infrastructures.
“Our water stress requires greater efficiency in use of the resource, a greater capacity of the reservoirs, more investments in maintenance and the elimination of leaks from the supply networks. However, Spain only invests 0.11% of its GDP in water infrastructures, while France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, which do not suffer from aridity and stress as much as Spain, double this percentage, with 0.25% of their GDP.”
The event, which took place at the headquarters of Foment del Treball in Barcelona, also included the participation of Jaime Gil Aluja, President of the RACEF, and the members of the Academy Francesc Granell and Ramón Tamames. The latter two stressed that the populism which is becoming “in fashion” in Spain endangers a model which operates with criteria of efficiency and effectiveness, and considered the need for the existence of a single independent water regulator in Spain, like in other countries, such as Portugal.