CC and PP reduce their proposals regarding the water crisis in Tenerife

The governing alliance in the Tenerife Cabildo, made up of the Canarian Coalition and the Popular Party, have taken a step back on Tuesday from their initial plan to declare a water crisis on the island due to water scarcity, particularly for agricultural purposes. Just a few days ago, the administration led by Rosa Dávila (CC) had announced their intention to implement this measure, which was scheduled to take effect on March 1 (this coming Friday), post its approval in the plenary session to be convened on the same day in the Cabildo. Rosa Dávila, along with her deputy, Lope Afonso (PP), had indicated that the water crisis would be declared on March 1 at the Cabildo.

However, on Monday, both political parties made public the motion they intend to present in the plenary session, which no longer includes the declaration of a water crisis by the Cabildo. Instead, the proposed actions have been scaled back to urging the Insular Water Council to “initiate the process for a potential declaration of a water crisis.” Hence, the island will not officially be under a water crisis status from that designated date on.

The joint proposal by CC and PP also includes calls for the Insular Water Council and Balten (Balsas de Tenerife, an entity under the Cabildo’s jurisdiction) to “examine and implement any feasible measures to ensure water supply to both the populace and the agriculture sector.” It further urges them to “formulate and execute preventative actions to minimize losses in the distribution network and promote the efficient and responsible use of water.”

Lastly, both parties advocate for the promotion of awareness campaigns aimed at residents and tourists by the Insular Water Council and the Tourism Department of the Cabildo to encourage water conservation.

Dávila had justified the earlier announcement of declaring a water crisis based on technical data highlighting the impacts of warm thermal anomalies and the precipitation deficits in recent years, coupled with findings from a Balten report on the prevailing situation that identifies an “extreme and prolonged drought in the midlands” of the island. He also mentioned, “We will adopt measures to secure water supply,” which have now been reduced to the Insular Water Council being urged to “explore potentially feasible measures.”

Urgent Projects, Not Water Crisis

The PSOE group in the Cabildo stated on the same Monday that declaring a water crisis might not be the best course of action for the island’s primary sector as it could prioritize supply for domestic use over irrigation. Therefore, they suggested an alternative emergency plan. The plan outlined a set of projects that they deemed should be treated as emergencies to expedite completion and minimize delays. Pedro Martín, the PSOE spokesperson in the island corporation, elaborated, “Declaring a water crisis, which is a broader measure, may take longer and could potentially have negative implications as it might deprioritize water use for agriculture.”

The PSOE’s plan, intended to introduce approximately an extra 40,000 cubic meters of irrigation water daily into the system, encompasses five initiatives and two strategies to mitigate losses, all requiring an investment of at least €65 million.

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