By Luis Martinez.

León, Sep 19 (EFE) .- About three thousand irrigated farmers from the provinces of León, Zamora and Salamanca demonstrated this Monday in the center of the capital of León to demand that the “nonsense” that represents the unloading of the water in Portugal to comply with the Albufeira Agreement.
It is a cooperation agreement for the protection and sustainable use of the waters of the Hispano-Portuguese hydrographic basins, signed by the two countries on November 30, 1998 for the administration and use of water in the five watersheds that they share, among them that of the Duero, to which they have now shown their opposition.
This was denounced by the president of the Association of Irrigation Communities of the Duero Basin (Ferduero), Ángel González Quintanilla, who clarified that the first affected were the irrigators of Salamanca, with the extraordinary landfills of Santa Teresa, Águeda and Irueña.

LEÓN, 09/19/2022.- About three thousand irrigated farmers from the provinces of León, Zamora and Salamanca demonstrate this Monday in the center of the capital of León to demand that the “nonsense” represented by the water dumping stop . Portugal to comply with the Albufeira agreement. EFE/J. casares

“Now it is the turn of the irrigation communities of León to suffer the consequences, with the release of water that has been taking place since September 9 in the reservoirs of Riaño and Porma, in the Esla-Valderaduey system” , he added.
Ferduero denounces that this is “looting” which takes place unilaterally and without any type of consultation, and accuses the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge of continually turning its back on irrigation and to the rural world.
And he warns that all this water is going to be turbined in the various existing hydroelectric jumps in the tail of the Spanish part of the demarcation, whose exploitation is shared by Spain and Portugal in the more than 100 kilometers of the international Duero.
“Although reservoirs such as Ricobayo or La Almendra also release water for this purpose, they will extract the appropriate production from these flows, while we lose ours without any benefit”, González Quintanilla pointed out.
He also recalled that in order to leave as much water as possible in the reservoirs to help guarantee the next campaign, these have been operating for many years with maximum allocations and quotas by the communities which are scrupulously respected.
He pointed out that the tangible proof is that it has been possible to meet crop demands in most farming systems despite the severe drought suffered, thanks to the savings made in the previous campaign.
“And now we have to watch helplessly as the savings of the current campaign are plundered by a unilateral government decision,” he concluded.

LEÓN, 09/19/2022.- A farmer shows a sign on his tractor that reads “Water + young people = future” during this Monday’s demonstration in the center of the capital of León to demand that the “nonsense” which represents the discharge of water in Portugal to comply with the Albufeira agreement. EFE/J. casares

MEETING WITH SUB-DELEGATION

After meeting with irrigators last week, the government’s deputy in León, Faustino Sánchez, stressed that the discharge of water in Portugal “is mandatory” under the agreement signed between the two countries.
Under this agreement, the two largest reservoirs in the Duero watershed, the Almendra Reservoir, on the Tormes River, between Salamanca and Zamora, and the Ricobayo Reservoir, on the Esla River, in Zamora, both destined for the production mainly hydroelectric, they will have to give up more than half of the water they currently have in reservoirs in Portugal.
The agreement provides for the shipment to Portugal of some 870 cubic hectometres of water stored in the Spanish reservoirs of the Duero basin, of which some 650 come from these two large reservoirs.
Thus, in the next two weeks, before the end of the current hydrological year on September 30, Spain must have complied with this agreement and for this it must cede to the Portuguese basin of the Duero the minimum quantity of water of dam stipulated each year in the agreement signed in November 1998.

Edited by Maria Rosado.

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