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Water that doesn't fall from heaven
The Bottom Line opinion

Water that doesn't fall from heaven

For it to really do some good, it would have to rain for at least a month, and that, unfortunately, is not on the horizon

Ignacio Lillo


Friday, 9 February 2024, 18:46


Rain is coming and I don't know whether to laugh or cry... like tears in the rain. As has become typical recently, the rain won't last very long and is likely to be concentrated in the Serranía de Ronda and Estepona, the last bastion of humidity in a province that is becoming more and more like a desert. Rain is always welcome like manna from heaven but it will do no more than wash the dust off the leaves of the dry olive trees that are producing little liquid gold; then a winding stream might form somewhere inland, only to quickly dry up again. And that's it. For it to really do some good, it would have to rain for at least a month, and that, unfortunately, is not on the horizon.

Meanwhile we're running out of cards to play. We've lost November, December and January and we need to pray out loud for the rest of February and March. A month and a half to save the summer, which otherwise will be another holiday season that goes down in history, but this time for water restrictions and images of tanker ships unloading water in the port of Malaga... each one costing a fortune. The expense of supplying the Costa del Sol through the month of August by water tanker would almost pay for a new desalination plant.

And speaking of which... the Axarquía one should have been built and up and running months ago, and all the Spanish and Andalusian governments can offer residents and farmers is another shameful playground squabble over who is going to draw up the plans. There's no other word for it; turning a catastrophic situation into a political party quarrel is shameful. And then it will take years of environmental impact studies before they can lay the first stone. There will probably be time for La Viñuela to fill up again.

It's embarrassing that we have the technology, what's more avant-garde and made in Spain, plus a hundred kilometres of coastline, and we're not taking advantage of any of it. Those who are against desalination always put forward two arguments: that the water is expensive because it needs a huge amount of electricity; and that the leftover brine is a pollutant. Regarding the former, it seems that we've forgotten that this is the region with the most hours of sunshine in the whole of Europe... the Costa del Sol, you know? And there is space, for example in La Viñuela, to install hundreds of solar panels. As for the latter, there are already projects for the reuse of the brine, which is rich in salt, minerals and other elements. And so for the same price we would have water - and a quarry.

Meanwhile, here we are, waiting for it to rain so we can have something to drink, at this point in history. It's third world.

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