Call for Sanctions on Water Concessionaire in Güímar and Ban on Water Supply from Contaminated Well by the Popular Party

The Popular Party (PP) has urged the Güímar City Council to penalise Aqualia for overcharging water bills to about 30% of subscribers – a fact acknowledged by the local government. The PP also demands that the company be prohibited from continuing to use the Cataño well to supply El Puertito, as the contract dictates it should cease using it due to sewage contamination, a situation confirmed by Public Health in both 2019 and 2023.

During the plenary session on February 29, a motion was passed, at the PP’s proposal, to initiate proceedings against the company for these unjust charges. The PP spokesperson, Carmen Luisa Castro, criticized the attempts of the Integral Water Cycle councillor, Airam Puerta (PSOE), to defend the continual non-compliance of the concessionaire, stating that Puerta sometimes appears more like Aqualia’s manager than a representative of the residents.

The PP argues that the incorrect billing affects 4,000 customers, as acknowledged by Puerta himself. The company issued bills covering periods of up to 77 days, rather than bi-monthly, causing affected consumers to shift from lower-priced to higher-priced water consumption tiers.

According to the PP, Puerta attempted to trivialize the situation by attributing it to the switch from analogue to digital meters, and has offered affected individuals the choice between a refund or a credit on their next bill. PP councillor Francisco Hernández questioned Puerta’s motives, asking whether he was running for the PSOE or Aqualia, and stressed the need to open proceedings against the concessionaire to refund the overcharged amount without residents needing to lodge complaints.

Expressing dissatisfaction with Puerta’s acceptance of the company’s explanations, PP councillor Ana Belén Acosta remarked that “under this administration, Aqualia never loses, but the citizens do; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – a message directed at the Socialist and Workers Party from the PP bench.”

contaminated well

Regarding the Cataño well, the PP’s stance prompted Mayor Gustavo Pérez to shelve Aqualia’s request. The Popular Group unequivocally rejected the City Council’s consideration of the company’s proposal to amend the contract terms to allow the continued exploitation of this well.

In 2019, the General Directorate of Public Health of the Canary Islands Government confirmed severe nitrate contamination in the water from this source. This contamination led the City Council to stipulate, when awarding the water cycle tender, that this underground source should no longer be utilized, a condition the current government now seems poised to abandon, despite the awareness among participating companies of the situation.

The PP asserts that Aqualia must secure alternative water sources and criticises the company for still not having presented a Water Health Plan, despite the Public Health Inspection Service’s request dating back to November 2019 for El Puertito de Güímar.

A Public Health report from October 2023 specifies that water from this well requires filtration and disinfection as it is unsuitable for human consumption, as explained by the PP.

The PP also voiced strong opposition during the session to a proposed 19% rate hike by Aqualia, a measure that the tripartite government had tabled amid recent controversies.

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