Tenerife Gears Up to Confront Drought Crisis with a Grim Summer Forecast

A set of fourteen measures has been unveiled by the Cabildo of Tenerife to tackle the drought emergency gripping the island. This comes as reservoirs are at 30% lower capacity than this time last year, with a summer ahead that “looks very bad,” according to agricultural organizations.

President of Asaga, Ángela Delgado, disclosed this information to journalists after a meeting with representatives from Balten, the Cabildo’s vice president, Lope Afonso, and the counselor of the Primary Sector, Valentín González. They have not ruled out implementing “drastic measures” if the situation does not improve in the upcoming months.

Delgado noted that over the last 15 years, drought has been on the rise, causing plants to transpire more and consume significantly more water. The haze set in as early as January this year, compared to the second half of March last year, indicating a deteriorating situation.

The association’s president, accompanied by representatives of COAG, UPA and ASOCAN, has pledged to support a potential declaration of a water emergency to expedite the necessary works in guaranteeing irrigation water for the next summer. They have also urged the Cabildo to plan investments accordingly.

They have also expressed support for a proposal to “compromise a degree of quality” of regenerated water “for a slightly bigger quantity,” facilitated by the remarkable work done by purifiers.

Highlighting the dire state of the island’s countryside, Delgado indicated that the potato harvest is expected to be “catastrophic” without rainfall in the coming days, resembling last year’s situation. This foreshadows “high prices” in the next few months.

“The higher areas, which are the main potato producers, suffer from the most severe water deficits in terms of both quantity and quality,” she added.

Afonso stated that the declaration of an emergency is a “complex process,” contingent on a thorough legal analysis, and may encompass aspects beyond agriculture.

He anticipates the drought persisting for “quite some time,” emphasizing the need to take measures to “alleviate” the impacts—particularly for the upcoming summer—via desalination and regenerated water projects, and network enhancements.

Projects Worth 27 Million Euros

The proposed actions by Cabildo include nearly 9 million euros in works for this fiscal year, such as desalination plants for regenerated water irrigation in the Güímar valley, Isla Baja, and a mobile desalination module, along with an upgrade to the El Chorrillo facility through an agreement with the Santa Cruz City Council to supply higher quality water to the northeast (Tacoronte-Acentejo area).

Additionally, an agreement with SEIASA will see an investment of 18 million euros in rehabilitating and improving the water supply network across Tenerife’s southwest region, along with the construction of the Balsa Las Charquetas in Guía de Isora.

Afonso and González emphasized the need for a coordination table with the Insular Water Council and municipal governments to achieve the outlined objectives. This will ensure a consensus, authorization, and coordinated implementation of actions, given the exceptional circumstances prevailing on the island.

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