Monday, 12 February 2024, 15:06
Around 5,000 people took to the streets of Coín at the weekend to defend the "town's most precious asset": its aquifer.
It comes as the Ardid Martínez Bordiú family plans to build a huge adventure sports complex on the Llanos de Matagallar, where the town's aquifer is. "It is time for us to take to the streets to defend our most precious asset, especially in these times of extreme drought," resident Manolo Beltrán said.
He arrived at the demonstration on Saturday 10 February 30 minutes early along with his two grandchildren. "Matagallar stays as it is, you can't play with our water," protesters chanted, who have called themselves La Mesa del Agua (the Water Platform).
They marched through the town from Montesol to the Alameda for two hours chanting: "Not with my water" (No con mi agua). "In Coín there is strength to fight for our agriculture, the adventure sports complex will leave us without crops," they also exclaimed during the protest.
The developers of the new Transcendence adventure sports project, are looking at the site in Coín and they have been awaiting environmental approval from the Junta de Andalucía since the regional government declared the project "of strategic interest" in July last year.
"The project is still awaiting an environmental report, which will determine whether the project goes ahead or not," the Junta said. Coín mayor Francisco Santos has said he will not comment on the project until the report becomes available.
"They want to have giant wave pools, but if there is no water for agriculture, how can there be water for this, and if not, let them go to Tarifa, those are waves," said Elena López, a teacher at the Montecillos de Coín secondary school. "They want to build 510 eco-cabins in the recharge area closest to the aquifer from which our vegetable gardens take water , we do not want a project developed that puts our resources at risk," said Eva Macías, a member of The Water Platform.
A hydrological report
Coín residents have been critical of the project since September, despite developers meeting with them and assuring them the adventure sports complex would not affect the aquifer, based on a hydrological report they drew up. "This report presents results that confirm the good state of the Llanos de Matagallar aquifer in Coín, showing a surplus of water today and in the future," a water specialist who helped write the report said.
In the report, the expert projected different scenarios from 2023 to 2050, taking into account the most unfavourable hypothetical rainfall and consumption data and, "even in the worst-case scenario, there would be a surplus of water in the aquifer," said Alberto Suárez, technical and sustainability director of Nature Call Initiatives. But The Water Platform said "this report is not truthful, since, despite the lack of water in the orchards this summer, the report assures that there will be water left over until 2050, when the reality is that Malaga is already at red level".
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