'Nelson' brings Andalusia out of the extreme drought, but Catalonia still has reserves at 16%

The Andalusian reservoirs increase almost 10 points with the latest rains that have irrigated the community thanks to Storm Nelson.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
31 March 2024 Sunday 22:21
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'Nelson' brings Andalusia out of the extreme drought, but Catalonia still has reserves at 16%

The Andalusian reservoirs increase almost 10 points with the latest rains that have irrigated the community thanks to Storm Nelson. Now, according to data from the Guadalquivir and Hidrosur Automatic Hydrological Information Systems (SAIH), the reservoirs are almost at 40% of their capacity, a reserve of 4,800 cubic hectometers of the 12,000 cubic hectometers of the total capacity.

A situation that contrasts with that of Catalonia, which already had a greater deficit of stored water that the rain that has fallen in recent days has barely improved. The state of the swamps' water reserves is now at February levels, still well below the average of the last 10 or 5 years.

As of March 31, the level stood at 16.35%, practically half of a year ago (26.74%) and very far from between 60% and 70% of the recent historical figure. The Generalitat must evaluate this week if that minimum 0.35% that exceeds the limit set to declare the state of emergency is enough to return to the previous alert level.

The situation of the Sau reservoir remains critical, with its reserves at 4.73%. By basin, the Ter-Llobregat basin continues to be by far the most deficient, with its reserves at 16.92%, while the Ebro basin stands at 47.43%.

In the south of the peninsula, however, after several weeks of storing water, the heavy and continuous rainfall during this Holy Week has been one of the best news that the region could receive, although it is expected that the contributions will continue to increase due to the effect of runoff. With this, and although the drought committees must meet next week to assess the new situation and make decisions accordingly, it is believed that measures such as nighttime water cuts or lowering of water levels will not have to be carried out. water pressure from the taps. In fact, the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, stated today before the media that “we will not bring water cargo ships” this summer.

It will also be the time to study the possibility of increasing water supplies for irrigators. The petition has been launched by the general secretary of Feragua, Pedro Parias, who has asked that, “without ringing bells”, the feasibility of improving these quotas for farmers be studied, something to which the Minister of the Presidency has committed. , Antonio Sanz, although he has already announced that we will have to "reflect" on the total increase in hydrological reserves due to the fact that "not in all territories, not in all regions it has fallen with the incidence of what we could imagine and, therefore, the criteria will depend on each area."

The rains have meant that the Andalusian swamps are between 30% and 40%, an anxious change of course that seemed to never come since in the fall of 2022 places like Seville declared a state of emergency due to drought and imposed serious limitations on use. of the water. Now, the Gergal reservoir in Seville is “releasing water” and the Melonares reservoir, one of the two most important, is above 80% of its capacity.

Another example of the positive impact of Storm Nelson is found in the north of Córdoba (Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo), where residents who received the supply from the Boyera reservoir were left without water after it dried up in the spring of 2023.

After eleven months without this precious liquid coming out of their taps, more than 80,000 Cordobans are closer to returning to normality after the reservoir has reached almost 70% of its capacity and there is “water for four years”, as stated Moreno reported, who assured that, after carrying out the appropriate tests, water will be available 24 hours a day.

However, the rains have not met the needs of all places, and the Mediterranean Basins, although more relieved, still have a significant deficit. In Malaga, for example, its most important reservoir, La Viñuela, has increased its reserve by 60%, although it is still at 15% of its capacity. Also in Almería the situation is complicated and the previously imposed restrictions will remain in place.

Huelva, Seville and the north of Córdoba are the points where Nelson has discharged the most water. Thus, the Guadalquivir Basin, which was dying at 20% and a little over a month ago its capacity was even lower, is at 43.28 percent, with 3,477.5 hm2 dammed out of the 8,034 it has total capacity. . This increase represents thirteen points over the water figure they had on Palm Sunday, March 24.

Regarding the reservoirs of the Tinto, Odiel, Piedras and Chanza Basins, the latest data available - in the absence of this Monday's update - is from March 27, when they were at 43 percent, although the figure will be significantly higher due to the rains recorded in recent days.

“We cannot throw bells in the air,” declared the Andalusian leader, who has sent a message of caution and has reiterated the need to be responsible with the consumption and use of water. “The rains have alleviated the situation, but it is not enough,” he said, since he commented that it has been a “sad and happy at the same time” Holy Week: “sad” because “many Brotherhoods” have not been able to do their work. Penance Station through the streets and “happy” because “hope has come to the field” ensuring that some crops can go ahead, like the rice growers, who saw it impossible to carry out production for the third year.

Moreno has focused on the impact that the drought has caused during the last three years, a figure that is around 2.1% of the Andalusian GDP, 4 billion euros “that we have stopped producing,” he explained. Among this drama in the countryside, he wanted to influence the new situation of the rice farmers, who after two campaigns without success and when they anticipated that everything was lost, they will be able to carry out the harvest.

As the lack of water "is a structural problem, no longer a temporary one", as explained by Minister Fernández-Pacheco, the president of the region has stressed that the appropriate actions will continue to be carried out to have the necessary infrastructure to cope with a water-scarce future. This affects the connection works that were planned in some Andalusian ports in order to receive water cargo ships and distribute them to the points of need.

On the other hand, he commented, it will be requested that the allocation of the Tajo-Segura Transfer be maintained and increased, "since Almería is still in an emergency situation."