Pedro Sánchez and Juanma Moreno in Madrid on Thursday, 28 July.

Junta's head warns of drought dangers and calls on PM Sánchez for urgent measures

Juanma Moreno took a 90-page document with a list of his Andalucía regional government's demands to his meeting with the Spanish prime minister in Madrid

Héctor Barbotta

Water is to the Andalusian economy what gas is to the German economy. This was the comparison that the president of the Junta, Juanma Moreno, made when he met with the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, in Madrid on Thursday, 28 July.

Moreno warned of the serious drought situation Andalucía is going through, which is affecting its two main economic sectors: agro-industry and services linked to tourism. Moreno said the situation is "extremely worrying and could become dramatic" if the lack of rainfall persists. Water reserves are currently at 39 per cent of capacity.

The president of the Junta called for the implementation of water measures that are the responsibility of the state and the approval of a powerful drought decree. "We have to carry out works now," Moreno said after the meeting which lasted an hour and forty minutes and had a very cordial tone, according to the Andalusian president

Moreno brought to the meeting a 90-page document with a list of his regional government's demands, in which the modification of the regional funding system and the water problem were at the top of the list, but in which there were also demands in the economic, industrial, political, environmental, infrastructure, security, health, social and equality spheres.

The document that the president of the Junta delivered to Pedro Sánchez includes 86 points, many of which were among the demands made in June 2021, when Moreno and the president of the government held their first meeting.

The thorny issue of regional funding means that, under the current situation, there are enormous differences in the funding received per inhabitant. In the case of Andalucía, this translates into a figure of between 800 and 1 billion euros per year below the Spanish average. The Andalusian government estimates that the accumulated amount of this imbalance between 2009 – the year in which this system was introduced – and the current financial year is more than 11.2 billion euros.

The Junta calls for the reform of the system, as proposed by the government in February 2020, and, in the meantime, the creation of a transitional fund to correct the imbalance. The Andalusian proposal, drawn up jointly with the Valencian Community, proposes that this equalisation fund should have an amount of 1,731 million euros, of which 824 million would go to Andalucía, 648 million to Valencia, 194 million to Castilla-La Mancha and 65 million to Murcia. These are the four regions whose per capita funding is below the average.