The Alicante Chamber of Commerce has warned that if the local water supply is not guaranteed the Province will lose 25% of all it’s exports, amounting to 950 million euro per year. It says that 26,000 jobs depend directly on the Tagus water transfer.
The Chamber has now joined the crusade launched by farmers and smallholders to ensure the water supply for agriculture with a statement in which they demand that the Government end, once and for all, the problems that affect the water supply from the Tagus-Segura Water Transfer to the province of Alicante and that, according to the Chamber, is now the greatest threat to the economic and social future of the Province..
The agricultural food sector in the Valencian Community represents 20% of all xports, 8% of direct employment and 6% of GDP, and in the province of Alicante, the value of exports of agricultural and horticultural products exceeds 950 million euros per year, “representing 26% of all our exports”, according to the statement issued on Tuesday by the Chamber.
The problem of water affects the whole province, but mainly the region of Vega Baja, which represents 50% of the agricultural income. It’s 26,000 farmers and smallholders in Alicante, 19 million fruit trees, 57,439 hectares of crops, 18,450 direct jobs and 7,500 jobs that agriculture provides in other sectors all rely heavily on water from the Tagus River which is channelled through this transfer system from the reservoirs of Entrepeñas (Province of Guadalajara) and Buendía (Province of Cuenca) into the Talave Reservoir on the Segura River.
Of course the problem in the province of Alicante is the lack of rain . “We have an average demand for water of around 1,300 hm3 but with average rainfall of around 655 hm3 we are only able to generate about 50% of what we need from our own resources. As a result, we have a structural and permanent deficit that ranges between – 300/600 cubic hectometres every year,” said the Chamber of Commerce report.