The Hunger Stones

The Hunger Stones

The electoral campaign starts with a package of direct aid to the agricultural sector of just over 636 million in order to satisfy farmers and ranchers that is going to be revealed seriously and that asks, full of reasons, to go from diagnosis to action before the serious drought that affects a good part of our country and suffocates 80% of the Spanish countryside and produces irreversible losses in more than 5 million hectares of rainfed cereals.

The diagnosis by the field is done; production lost due to dramatic harvests, high cost overruns due to lack of rainfall, to which is added the rise in the price of energy, and the galloping inflation that plagues us. All these ingredients that have put agricultural production in check, and the farmer, they will not be able to be alleviated by the farmer with the amount of the approved aid. It is true that all help is necessary, but it is insufficient, even if it rained, and they are not going to save anyone’s life compared to the Crop production losses that farmers and ranchers estimate at about 4,000 million and with an increase in the cost of feed of around 6,000 million. A lot of tax exemption, a lot of bonuses in agricultural insurance and in the water canon, but little direct help.

The forecasts are disastrous comment the representatives of the farmers, in a short time there will no longer be talk of cost increases, or crop losses, but of plantation losses in the affected areas. There will be no fodder, the cattle will have to be fed with fodder, which is much more expensive, which together with the rise in the price of energy will cause a rise in the price of meat. And it is not worth putting hot cloths with which the war in Ukraine raised the price of energy. Last year, when there was no war, the production of olive oil ran out of stocks due to the decline in the harvest caused by the drought, which led to less supply and made the price rise, the same happened with milk and eggs. .

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The aid package is also aimed at the construction of hydraulic infrastructures in the most affected basins. The infrastructures will go to the construction of drying wells and connections. Photovoltaic parks will also be built in the Tajo, Segura and Júcar areas to make pumping and desalination of water cheaper, while a maximum price for desalinated water will be determined so that it is affordable for irrigators. Says the minister.

This drought that devastates useighth since they started in the 1960s, it is usually cyclical and lasts 5 years. It was so difficult to foresee. And if these investments already appeared in the hydrological plans, as the minister points out, more than one will wonder why they were left unexecuted and have not been approved until now.

In inland Catalonia, the reservoirs are in reserves of 26% and in the Guadiana and Guadalquivir basins, in similar percentages. The hydraulic deficit that the Mesa de la Sequía placed at 23.5% was added to the high temperatures. A drought with seasonal temperatures is not the same as with high temperatures that cause the water to evaporate in a flash. Up to 30 degrees the temperature rose in the month of April.

Added to the lack of rain and forecasting and improvisation was the threat of the destruction of the reservoirs. Such was the case of the Valdecaballeros reservoir that supplies water to 3 municipalities, although it seems that the matter will not go any further. Perhaps they remembered the words of Paolo de Casto, president of the Committee on Agriculture in the European Parliament, who categorically stated that reservoirs or dams cannot be destroyed, especially with the rainfall deficit we have. What must be done is that all the water that falls is used and retained. The reader thinks that a third of the rain that falls goes to the river, another third infiltrates and another third evaporates. The demolition of dams in a country ravaged by drought is not understood. We have 1,200 dams and of these, 450 were built during democracy. What needs to be done is more storage infrastructures.

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Nor is it understood that there is no transfer policy interconnecting all the basins in order to supply water, where it is lacking, or that large excesses of the Tagus River are lost in Portugal. It is necessary to purify water in order to increase the reserves by 15%, as it would also be necessary to analyze the contingency plans that we have to face a prolonged drought.

To the drought we must add the climate change debate. I’m not a denier, but I don’t give it a dogma of faith either. We have the most technical irrigation in the world that coexists with traditional irrigation. But the new religion of climate change proposes withdrawing 1 million hectares of irrigated land and the politicians, oh the politicians, nod, and nod. And since nobody dares to stand up to the new religion, it beats the farmer by 10 to 0, who incidentally has come to be seen as a polluting businessman by the new religion while great worship is rendered to the bear, the wolf , or any wild animal.

The battle is lost despite the fact that we are an environmentally sustainable country. 40% of our area is forested, 14% dedicated to pastures, 4% open spaces, and 2% to rivers or humid spaces and the remaining 40% dedicated to agriculture despite the fact that we are not an eminent country agricultural due to the characteristics of our soil; slopes, winds, etc… But thanks to Water, we are. Has the territory been destroyed as ecologists squeal? Well eminently not. No, the territory has not been destroyed. And to prove it there is nothing better than resorting to figures. In our country from 1993 to 2020, the increase in forest or forest areas has gone from 13 million hectares to 20 million hectares. Spain is not deforested. The solution is not to repopulate and repopulate the forest, but to conserve and use it. Therefore, the myth of desertification is dismantled. The reader thinks that the growth of the forests prevents the surface runoff of water and, on the other hand, the snow levels have risen. Before the Pyrenees was a stony area which favored the runoff of water, now the Pyrenees are forests, forests and more forests. Meanwhile, stealthily, the stones of hunger appear in the rivers. His appearance means misfortune. And they already know it. If you see me, cry, the stones pray.

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