Water conditions the electoral debate in the Valencian Community

La Vega Baja is on orange alert today.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
22 May 2023 Monday 22:25
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Water conditions the electoral debate in the Valencian Community

La Vega Baja is on orange alert today. The Emergency Coordination Center of the Generalitat Valenciana warns of the possibility of torrential rains such as those that in September 2019 flooded a large part of the Alicante region and the Murcia region, causing losses of more than 1,300 million euros.

Paradoxically, five days before the municipal and regional elections, the parties are forced to suspend scheduled outdoor activities in a campaign in which the lack of water, and not its excess, is the center of much of the debate.

As a result of that disaster, the Generalitat Valenciana, chaired by the socialist Ximo Puig, designed, approved and began to implement the so-called Vega Renhace Plan, intended on the one hand to alleviate the consequences of the catastrophe and, on the other, to resolve the medium and long term the structural problem that supposes the greater frequency of episodes of torrential rains combined with an increase of the periods of drought. The now candidate to obtain the presidency of the Valencian government for the third time, was confident that this investment effort would have a positive effect on the image of the Botànic in a territory that has been a traditional fishing ground for votes for the right.

It is not clear that discontent over water management is the main cause of this detachment; factors such as language policy and resistance to Valencian perhaps contribute more, but it is undoubtedly that, in this context, the approval of the new basin plan del Tajo and the consequent reduction in the flow to be transferred to the Segura is an untimely inconvenience for the PSPV.

Given the little margin for negotiation that Minister Teresa Ribera has left him, Puig has been forced to confront the Socialist government to the point of challenging the plan before the Supreme Court. The PP, led by Carlos Mazón from Alicante, the first head of the list for the province that has options to become president of the Council, does not miss the opportunity to attack Puig for his alleged weakness in the face of the ministerial initiative. And he tries to take the initiative in the speech and in the courts, aware that Vox lurks in the troubled river of anti-Sanchism, which has increased its possibilities by presenting candidates in almost half of the municipalities.

Along these lines, even The Times newspaper headlined a few days ago "The water war threatens to sink the Socialists", a chronicle signed by its correspondent in Spain, Isambard Wilkinson, which collected the discontent of the agricultural and food sector in the south Valencian and its possible effect on the rise of the extreme right.

It must not be forgotten, however, that the southern regions contain other peculiarities, that the PSOE governs thirteen municipalities in Vega Baja and in Elx, the third city of the Community, where Carlos González, a firm defender of the transfer, aspires to his third term. Even Compromís, whose ecologist soul places him among those who, like the Alicante scientist Fernando Maestre, consider that climate change will force sooner or later to give up transfer and reduce irrigation, maintains its support for irrigators in the short term. His head of the list for Alicante is Aitana Mas, from Crevillenta and vice president of the Consell, who has unreservedly sided with Puig in his confrontation with the ministry.