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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Teresa Ribera: “There are countries in the world where water makes the difference between life and death, and in our country we can deal with it”

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Third Vice-President and Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, has underlined the need for responsible water use in Spain, the EU country with the “greatest extent and risk” of desertification, to prevent it states comes, it has at the same time underscored Spain’s ability to properly manage the resource.

“There are countries in the world that are a matter of life and death, and in our country it is a problem that we can deal with. And there is a great capacity to manage it properly, but it requires effort and further progress in a direction long charted,” defended the Vice President while attending the New Economy Forum Breakfasts.

Ribera emphasized in his speech that water is a “fundamental” and strategic issue, so one cannot look the other way but prevent desertification.

In addition, he believes that the problem is not just a local one, but that it requires regional and global attention and cooperation, especially from countries like Spain, which “in the past” have greater experience or coexistence with “tremendous” episodes of drought had. “We have to be ready to work with many other countries that will be in very critical situations,” he says.

Regarding resource management, he explained that precisely the third planning cycle does not work with average scenarios but with extreme scenarios, since it is necessary to prepare for situations of major floods and scenarios of enormous, intense and extreme droughts. For this reason, she insists on the need to calculate “all” of the available water in the river basin plans: surface water, aquifers, unconventional water and desalinated water.

In fact, he pointed out that there is now a “very big” opportunity to invest resources that “never” have been done to address “one of the great challenges of the 21st century,” such as better connecting water infrastructure conventional; in a better connection within each of the basins; in a commitment to the efficiency and digitalization of water use, but also of transport and the urban cycle, avoiding “terrible” losses and remaining a “very important” part of consumption. **On the other hand, with regard to coastal governance, the Minister considers the Coastal Law in force to be “good” in general, as it is a “guarantee” that allows “considerable flexibility” when it comes to facilitating the debate on coastal strategies “, but he is confident he will be able to review the Coastal Ordinance as he says it is “more distorted with the 2013 reforms”, although its application will be maintained for the time being.*

Therefore, he believes that understanding the problems of the coast well lest they materialize “with the drama they could wreak” is “capital” given that a significant percentage of the national GDP, citizens and the urban Concentration focused on the coast.

However, to address the increasing impact of climate change on the coast, the Minister has asked us to think about what is being done from land and sea. In any case, he states that there are three possible situations that must be addressed with a combination of technical proposals that must be adapted to each enclave.

As he pointed out, these options are well protected with traditional physical barriers or with nature-based solutions; give up and let the dynamic nature itself modify the profile of the coast, and in the third case Ribera argues that it will be necessary to consider the regression or displacement of some “things” that are on the beach “because there aren’t any gives way to protect that”.


On the other hand, when asked about the severity of the fires, the vice-president has defined them as “the hardest face of climate change” in areas like Spain, where, like last year, they can become an “uncontrollable spiral with a virulence” in Sierra Bermeja (Málaga) and is spreading at great speed.

Ribera has advocated a strategy that, on the one hand, seeks ways to manage depopulation and territory to reduce the risk of its occurrence; for maintaining the teams “all year round and not just three summer months”, which make it possible to “prepare and coordinate the prevention work enormously in order to be able to react quickly”.

In fact, he has recognized that this is one of the demands of the professionals in the sector and believes that it is “capital” for which he proposes to think of a state pact that encourages the promotion of professionals in full training and in excellent working conditions “all the year long”.

However, he has noted that since the Saelices el Chico (Guadalajara) fire, Spain has “improved a lot” in fire management, particularly in the response situation, thereby avoiding drama. He celebrated that fortunately no human life was lost in the fires of the past week.

Looking at the fire in the Sierra de la Culebra, which he describes as a “wonderful space”, Ribera lamented the suffering of those affected and the loss of the “enormous wealth” of one of the most important biosphere reserves.

In this area, he confirmed the words of the President of the Government during his visit to the burnt area in Zamora this Wednesday, stating that the first thing that will be done is to try to stabilize the area to stop further erosion and then proceed with the recovery and Restoring the ecosystem and designating a “disaster zone” to activate the relief efforts that neighbors and affected people may need.

Finally, with regard to the debate on the lifetime extension of nuclear power plants, the Vice President does not think it makes sense “to play with hypotheses that are not on the table”. “If we open up coal or expand the nuclear plants, they are not part of the equation and there is no room for speculation. The scenarios being addressed are viable and compatible with what is currently being done,” he added.

Source europapress.es

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