Until the PSOE took over the mantle of power in Spain, the former PP government had proposed to redirect water from the Ebro Valley to the drought-ridden areas of Valencia and Murcia. The idea was two fold; on the one hand, the area around the Ebro, which has a history of flooding, would have a better water management program put into place while the drought ridden agricultural areas on the coast would have a plentiful supply of water. Those living in the Ebro Valley region did not wish this to happen and in part, in order to pick up some additional votes, Zapatero promised not to divert their water, in return for backing from the region for his coalition government.
Thus, when the PP lost power, one of their early proposals was to put a desalination plant on the coast to supply the region with water. The location; Torrevieja, which was sort of odd in the first instance since the city has one of the best water management schemes on the coast! Millions of euros later, the plant has still not opened but when it is, it shall supply water to mainly Murcia, Alicante and inland towards Oriheula, not to the city of Torrevieja! Meanwhile, each year, the Ebro Valley has continued to flood, receiving little sympathy from farmers in Murcia and Valencia, who make do with whatever little water they can find to grow their crops.
Now a new study by university professors has concluded that if the Ebro transfer had been built and put into service, it would have generated 514,135 jobs directly and indirectly in Valencia, Murcia, Catalonia and the province of Almeria. The report ‘Water and employment: The Ebro transfer’, directed by Professor of the University of Alicante Joaquín Melgarejo, has been created through an agreement between management and the Foundation CIERVAL ‘Valencia Water and Progress’.
The study, which cost 25,000 euros, will now be transferred to central government and the parliamentary groups for further discussion according to the Regional Minister for the Environment, Juan Cotino.