Spain accused of ‘draining the Tejo’

Climate change, dams and diversion have brought the Iberian peninsula’s longest river, which Portuguese know as the Tejo – and on which millions depend – to the brink of collapse.

So says the Guardian following a report from environmentalists who say “the river is practically out of water”.

The Pro-Tejo movement says it is vital for the governments of Portugal and Spain to find solutions, bearing in mind Portugal suffers the consequences of everything that happens ‘upstream’ in Spain.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã calls the situation right now the Tejo’s “worst crisis”.

The 1007-km long river – which Spain calls the Tajo – rises in the Aragon mountains and passes close to Madrid en-route for Portugal where it flows into the sea.

The trouble stems from the sheer number of dams in Spain (51) and relentless water transfers to another Spanish river, irrespective of the Tejo’s own flow.

A bit like the scandal of the Alentejo’s wasted millions of litres of water (click here), the Tejo’s downfall is in outmoded water management systems which no-one has thought to revise.

Said Nuria Hernández-Mora of the Foundation for a New Water Culture, the transfer system has “served to create social and political conflict and turn the Tejo into one of the rivers in the worst ecological state in the peninsula”.

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Image taken from Pro-Tejo’s Facebook page