The battle to release the Tejo river from the grip of industrial pollution has gone to a new level as environmentalists accuse the Spanish government of failing to honour supply agreements.
According to Associação Zero, Spain has closed the tap not only on the struggling Tejo, but on flows into the Douro in the north and Guadiana in the south.
In the Douro, for example, Zero claims Spain has lopped the annual flow by 300 cubic hectometers – as much as three years of water-supply to Lisbon, explains tabloid Correio da Manhã.
And in the Guadiana, the agreement involving a daily flow of 2000 litres per second has been complied with for at least 44 days in the last 12-month period.
But it is in the Tejo that the situation is “most worrying”, as the little water that continues to be released by Spain is of “poor quality” due to the release of sewage it receives in Madrid, claims Zero’s vice-president Carla Graça.
Zero is therefore piling pressure on environment minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes to make a stand when he meets Spanish counterpart Isabel Garcia Tejerina in Porto today to discuss mutual measures to cope with the Iberian Peninsula’s ongoing drought.
As CM explains, without Spanish compliance the situation in national dams already affected by poor water flows will only get worse.
Matos Fernandes’ ability to turn the situation around, however, is the big question – particularly bearing in mind that environmentalists’ fears of the safety of Almaraz nuclear plant on the Tejo’s banks, 1oo kms from national territory, have largely gone unheeded (click here).