Spain ‘not complying’ with river flow agreement

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 15-11-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The Pro-Tejo-Movement for the Tagus have stated that Spain “has again failed to comply with the Albufeira Convention”, pointing to less water being released into the river in the last two weeks of October.

“Spain once again failed to meet the minimum flow in the last two weeks of October, the beginning of the new hydrologic year 2019-2020, which lasts until September, as it sent only six hm3 [one million cubic metres] of water between the 14th and 28th of that month, when the Albufeira Convention requires seven hm3 to be sent weekly,” said Paulo Constantino, spokesman for the environmental movement based in Vila Nova da Barquinha, in the Santarém district, to Lusa.

According to the environmental leader, who based his calculations on the available data on the flow of water in the Fratel dam hydrometric station, the missing flow “is the result of an attempt to comply with the bureaucratic data of the last hydrological year, which is now causing a recurrent and systematic breach of the Albufeira Convention,” he said.

According to the accounts of Paulo Constantino, “the missing flow is 1,000,000 m3, a volume calculated because only 6,250,000 m3 and 6,750,000 m3 were shipped, respectively, in the 3rd and 4th weeks of October, of the 7,000,000 m3 per week agreed in the Albufeira Convention”, and “in the remaining weeks, only the minimum flow was sent as a result of the lack of water reserves in the Cedillo dam after the release in September”.

In this regard, the environmental movement has questioned the minister of the environment and climate action to find out “whether clarification has already been requested from its Spanish counterpart regarding this non-compliance” and “what position it intends to take to prevent such non-compliance from dragging on” throughout the 2019/2020 hydrological year.

A measure that would be used “on an exceptional basis” and “in view of the existing exceptional problem, agreeing on a set of integrated, financial and river rehabilitation compensation measures”, argued Paulo Constantino.

“As this has not happened, the Ponsul and Sever rivers are dry, in need and dependent on enormous amounts of rainfall to replace the lost water reserves, corresponding to 65 percent of the storage capacity of the Cedillo dam,” he noted, adding that the situation was “catastrophic”.

The Movement for the Tagus reiterated the statement that “Spain has not complied with the Albufeira Convention in the hydrological year 2018/2019”, which ended last September, “sending Portugal a maximum of 2,695 hm3 of the 2,700 hm3 of annual fixed flow”.

Paulo Constantino also said he had “reminded” the minister of the environment, João Matos Fernandes, that “citizens are still waiting for the day when Portugal and Spain make the information about the Cedillo dam flow available, ‘online’ and in real time, for citizen scrutiny with total transparency and accuracy”, a situation that he said did not occur at this time.

Last week, Social Democrats accused the Environment Minister of “contradictory and incoherent positions” on the quantity of water and the joint management of Tagus flows between Portugal and Spain, requesting additional information from the Government on the issue.
The Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, João Matos Fernandes, refused that the Tagus River was experiencing a period of water shortage, claiming that the problem is in a tributary, the Ponsul River, noting that he has “communicated with Spain several times” on the subject.


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