The Council of Tenerife entrusts the College of Civil Engineers, Canals and Ports of Santa Cruz de Tenerife with the preparation of a report on the feasibility of rehabilitating and finishing the El Río dam. The Tenerife Island Water Council (Ciatf) is the driving force behind this initiative before the CICCP, as confirmed by the Island Corporation and the professional body. The measure responds to the approach formulated, almost a year ago, by the municipalities of Arico, Granadilla and San Miguel de Abona.
Until now, the island government had been blunt against the political demand and the primary sector of the Abona region to invest in waterproofing the El Río pond, to store water for irrigation in the south of the island. The arguments used by the island councilors Javier Rodríguez Medina (Sustainable Development and Fight against Climate Change) and Francisco Javier Parrilla Gómez (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries) refer to the “big, huge filtration problems” that this work has, as well as in the cost of the same and in that the previous attempt to waterproof the place failed.
«The El Río dam is one of the two great failures of Tenerife’s hydraulic engineering, along with that of Los Campitos, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife”, the “pedological and geomorphological reality of the Island does not allow this type of action” and “it does not work, there is no solution because it was done wrong” are some of the demonstrations made one year.
After in mid-February 2021, the municipal government of Arico echoed and supported the proposal to promote actions to recover and finish this infrastructure, formulated by the president of the Bodega Comarcal Cumbres de Abona, Manuel Marrero, leader of the sector southern agrarian. The Cabildo de Tenerife backs down and puts in place mechanisms that allow a decision to be made with the technical endorsement that supports it.
half a century ago
The El Río dam was built during the 1960s by the Canary Islands Economic Command (MEC) –an institution established in the Archipelago in 1941–. Designed to take advantage of the water that flowed through the border ravine between Arico and Granadilla de Abona, into which another eleven basins flow, it is located about 600 meters above sea level. With the capacity to store three million water tankers, equivalent to a million and a half cubic meters, its construction was not completed and it was never in operation.
As a result of the social demands, the primary sector of the region and the demand for a feasibility study to the Cabildo by the municipalities of Arico, Granadilla de Abona and San Miguel de Abona, the insular institution publicly accepted the request to prepare a dam sustainability report. The assignment was made almost a month ago and the College of Civil Engineers, Canals and Ports of Santa Cruz de Tenerife already has a working group that is in charge of its elaboration and drafting.
The mayor of Arico, Sebastián Martín, was satisfied with this, “because it has always been a historical claim of the primary sector in Arico. The water in the galleries has been reduced due to climate change and the price has risen. The El Río dam is a fundamental structure for the region and one that meets the objectives of sustainable development.” In Martín’s opinion, “it is a success achieved by the co-governance between the municipalities of San Miguel de Abona, Granadilla de Abona and, above all, for Arico.”
“We are pleased with this decision, despite the fact that they said that the project was an entelechy”
“We are pleased that the rehabilitation of the El Río dam is now being taken into account by the Insular Council for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the Insular Council for Sustainable Development and the Fight against Climate Change,” said the mayor. A decision that comes “despite the fact that, from the beginning, said Public Administrations and, even, the leader of the opposition in the municipality considered the project as a farce, smoke or a daydream.”
Sebastián Martín highlighted the role of the president of the Community of Irrigators, Manuel Marrero, and the farmers of the municipality, who “have fought so that an infrastructure like this does not remain inoperative, when completing it would come to solve one of the problems that the region has: have the necessary water to guarantee irrigation.