The water that irrigates the golf course and the mayor’s plot

It is usual that, in times of drought, the town halls publish edicts to prohibit the irrigation of the gardens of the urbanizations with the water

It is usual that, in times of drought, the town halls publish edicts to prohibit the irrigation of the gardens of the urbanizations with the water from the supply. This has happened this year in the Riojan municipality of Ciruena, where the plots have taken on a brown tone due to the effect of the drought. But among the brown, a green and leafy one stands out. Drinking water that reaches the tank through a pipe that forms part of the supply system of the oja valleyis being poured into a ditch and from this, a powerful pump and a pipe of almost 1 kilometer leads it to a plot, property of the mayor, Peter Jesus Canas (PP), where hops are grown.

According to Julio Verdú of Ecologists in Action-La Riojain statements to Diary16, «It is possible that the plot has an irrigation concession from a well and that this does not have sufficient flow this year. But this does not justify using the town’s drinking water for irrigation. And it also seems that the golf course, which has the possibility of using the water from the town’s sewage treatment plant, also does not have enough to irrigate, so it also wants to use the water from the supply.

Field Rioja Alta Golf Club occupies 71 hectares, as advertised on its website, and is made up of 18 holes, 72 par, 1 driving range, 1 putting green and an approach area.

In the words of Verdu, the facts are serious. “The drought is due to the lack of rain and it has been stated by the media these days that we may have supply problems, which makes it necessary to establish restrictions, even for drinking water.”

Far from finding a solution, he explains that the mayor “He tells us that it is all a lie and has threatened to take us to court”A situation “to which we are already accustomed”.

Contrast between land affected by the drought and the green parcel of the mayor of Cirueña. Photo: Ecologists in Action.

City Hall does not respond during business hours

Despite repeated attempts by this means to know the version of the first mayor of Cirueña, he has only been able to verify that, in summer time, the town hall remains open to the public, but the telephone must be something like a simple decorative element that nobody is capable of picking up.

Ecologists, the bad guys

As a result of the events that have occurred, environmentalists also come out against some demonstrations that these days are heard in many conversations regarding water management.

“We have heard that environmentalists are to blame for this drought, as we are also to blame for the forest fires. All that remains is for it to be said that we are to blame for climate change.

They argue their position clarifying that «the drought, for those who accuse us of being the cause, is due to the lack of reservoirs and we are guilty because we oppose their construction. The truth is that no matter how many reservoirs are made, if there is no water to fill them, there will continue to be periods of lack of water.

Increase in irrigation

But the problem is not because it rains less, “but because there has been an extraordinary increase in irrigation in recent years, which is causing the emptying of reservoirs to irrigate, which is what gives rise to the lack of resources for other uses or for the maintenance of the rivers”, adds Verdu.

As in the case of Cirueña hops, the problem is not only the lack of water, but also the mismanagement of it, prioritizing private interests over general ones.