El Tribunal Internacional Los Derechos de la Naturaleza en Bonn juzga el acuífero del río Aguas

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El Ecocidio del Acuífero Aguas será denunciado ante el Tribunal Internacional Los Derechos de la Naturaleza en  Bonn, en el marco alternativo al  COP 23. Este caso es el único que se tratará de todo el estado español, ante la gravedad existente debido a la sobreexplotación y el expolio del agua llevado a cabo en la provincia de Almería y en particular en la comarca de Sorbas-Tabernas debido a las plantaciones de olivar superintensivo.

Tres personas integrantes de la Plataforma Acuíferos Vivos y la Plataforma en Defensa Del Acuífero del Rio Aguas: Sheila Andión. David Dene y Ion Holban estarán en Bonn el 7 de noviembre denunciando el terrible estado del acuífero y el ecocidio que se está produciendo sobre especies de flora y fauna únicas en Europa.

 

Este es un extracto de la ponencia que se hará en Bonn Alemania:

 

Según los datos recogidos en el Plan Hidrológico de la Demarcación Hidrográfica de las Cuencas Mediterráneas Andaluzas 2015-2021, la situación de sobreexplotación de la Masa subterránea del Acuífero Aguas (060.008) es dramática. De manera breve, la situación se puede resumir en los siguientes puntos:

  • Recursos disponibles 5,61 Hm3 anuales, sin la consideración de los efectos del Cambio Climático.
  • Extracciones 16,92 Hm3 anuales, si bien estos datos no reflejan la realidad actual y es probable que las extracciones hayan aumentado tras la implantación de grandes extensiones de cultivo súperintensivo en regadío en la comarca.
  • Índice de sobreexplotación de 3,02 para la masa subterránea 060.008, que se agrava a 4.217 para la masa subterránea Aguas Subsistema V-1, lo que indica que se están extrayendo anualmente entre el 300 y el 400% más de agua de la que se recarga. Actualmente, este acuífero es el más sobreexplotado de Andalucía.
  • Concesiones sobredimensionadas, legales o no, difíciles de cuantificar actualmente, pero con un mínimo de 18 Hm3, hasta más de 40 Hm3, muy por encima de la recarga y de la extracción actual.
  • Reservas, según el estudio elaborado por la misma Diputación de Almería en el año 2005 “Estudio de los Recursos hidráulicos en la Comarca de Tabernas y Alto Aguas” las reservas del acuífero neógeno eran entonces de tan solo 280 Hm3 y de aguas esencialmente “fósiles”, posiblemente muy antiguas y poco renovables.

 

De lo anterior se deduce que se está extrayendo agua de las reservas y que con este ritmo de explotación el acuífero previsiblemente se agotará en un plazo no más allá de cinco años o a principios de la siguiente década. El descenso en los niveles, ya ha obligado a profundizar en los sondeos de abastecimiento urbano y ha supuesto el drástico descenso del caudal del manantial de los Molinos del Río Aguas, fuente de vida del espacio natural del Karst en yeso de Sorbas, protegido por la Junta de Andalucía y la Directiva Hábitat de la Unión Europea.

 

En apoyo a estas personas enviadas a Bonn y queriendo denunciar públicamente una vez más esta lamentable situación hemos programado una exposición en el CAF (Centro Andaluz de Fotografía Calle Pintor Díaz Molina, 9) del 2 de noviembre al 8 de enero Titulada LOS ACUÍFEROS: EL PROBLEMA OCULTO DEL AGUA EN LA PROVINCIA DE ALMERÍA.

 

Así mismo el próximo sábado 4 de noviembre a las 19h habrá una Manifestación-Concentración Puerta Purchena-Las Velas. POR EL DERECHO AL ALGUA: NOS ROBAN EL AGUA, LUCHA POR ELLA con mesas informativas, espectáculos y música.

International Tribunal – The Rights of Nature

Water Rights in Almeria

 

My name is David Frederick Dene and I have lived here  in Los Molinos Del Rio De Aguas, an Eco-Village at the source of El Rio De Aguas for the last 28 years. The eco-village  issituated in the Paraje Natural Karst en Yeso de Sorbas, Almeria,  protectedunder  ZEPA, ZEC and LIC,  ES6110002 Karst en Yesos de Sorbas, Special Protection for Birds ZEPA, Places of Community Inportance LIC, and special zone for Conservation ZEC,all a  part of the Nature 2000 European Network of Protected Zones.

 

Surrounding the boundaries of thisParaque Natural we have to the West, South and East a larger area alsoprotectedunderthe sameNature 2000 directives. Sierra Cabrera-Bedar. ES6110013, same protections. !

 

I have been working on this case since 2014.

 

FACTS

 

Geographical Location and context.

 

We are located in South Eastern Spain, in the province of Almeria. The area is the only semi-arid zone in Western Europe with an average rainfall of 250mm per year. This area is unique in Europe and contains endemic protected species threatened and dying as a result of this Ecocide.

 

The problem lies in a 30 year over-exploitation of the aquifer, 060.008 “Aguas” which serves the municipalités of ,Antas, Bedar, Benizalon, Los Gallardos, Garrucha, Lubrin, Lucainena de Las Torres, Mojacar, Sorbas, Tabernas, Tahal, Turre, Uleila Del Campo and Vera, with a combined population of around 35,000 citizens.Within these municipalities there are also many small villages and farms.

 

This over-exploitation of the aquifer is endangering our environment to the extent that we are experiencing an Ecocide, the dying and death  of an eco-system.

Some shallow aquifers, (epikarstic), recharge from surface water, but deeper aquifers, such as 060.008 “Aguas”, contain ancient water locked in the earth by changes in geology that happened millions of years ago. The “Aguas” aquifer has a very small recharge, and once this “fossil” water is gone, it is gone forever, changing everything. Ecocide.

 

We are experiencing a changed climate with less rainfall and we are at this time of writing,totally reliant on water from the deep aquifer.
Here in Los Molinos Del Rio De Aguas, we have opened up a Roman tunnel inside the mountain. The tunnel led us to a spring of water coming out of the rock.

 

This is the only “feed” for our irrigated land and our houses. This is a lifeline that other communities do not have, in particular the communities of Los Canales and Los Perales.

 

 

Climate Change. We have a weather station and we have measured 181 mm of rain in the first 10 months of 2017. A rainfall of less than 200mm in a year defines that area as DESERT.

 

The extreme overexploitation of the aquifer by Industrial Agriculture has already caused displacement and loss of livelihood. The situation continues to deteriorate and the river “El Rio De Aguas” is drying up.

In the next village downstream, Los Canales,  livesJaki Smart who is using the river water to grow vegetables for 60 families. She is facing displacement and loss of livelihood.

 

In Los Perales, Jose llorente has cared for goats all his life. He is faced by financial ruin, displacement and loss of livelihood.

The small village of Los Perales is inhabited by 5 families, the oldest inhabitant is 93 years old, and the youngest is 4 years old. When the water from El Rio dries up they are facing displacement. At present they have in the village, a small water supply from a superficial aquifer of drinkable water which is not enough to meet the needs of summer visitors.

 

I, and my fellow citizens are faced with displacement and loss of livelihood.

 

Recent super intensive olive production is draining the aquifer. If the aquifer is depleted the situation will be catastrophic socially and environmentally. It will signal an end to all development and activity in the area.

We have no other sources of water, either from de-salinated water, or by transfer from sources outside the province.

 

 

The situation before changes of land use and overexploitation of the aquifer.

 

People grew their own vegetables, kept bees, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits and pigs. The communities worked well together selling surplus produce in the weekly Sorbas market.

Wealthy elites abused the people, however, over the years, farmers kept herds of goats, and shepherds roamed the uncultivated land grazing their goats on grass and wild herbs,

The grazing of uncultivated land reduced fire risks and produced healthy goats providing good meat, milk and cheeses.

This was a land flowing with “milk and honey”.

Villages were created and existed because of the presence of sufficient water for growing crops and for meeting the needs of both humans and animals.

In 2017, as I write this, villages and small towns are supplied with drinking water from trucks, delivering water weekly or sometimes twice weekly. Subsistence agriculture is no longer possible. The aquifer is in a “critical” situation.

We are once again in the hands of “wealthy elites” who have no societal or environmental conscience.

 

 

Chronological narrative of events.

 

Ten  yearsago, the water feeding the village of Gotcha ran dry. The village is now almost deserted –previously over 100 inhabitants, now reduced to 14. – their irrigation system is dry – this was followed by consequebnt drying up of irrigation and water systems to Alto de Moras8 years ago, Mayordomo 6 years ago and now Zoca, with insufficient water to irrigate theirhuerta, (irrigated land), for the last 4 years.

 

In 2012, we had massive rains in Almeria which filled epikarsticresevoirs feeding El Rio De Aguas. I was in Ecuador at the time spending time with The Shuar Nation.

 

I came back to “El Rio” with fresh eyes and in  February and March of 2013 I noted a rapidly declining flow of water in “El Rio”. The flow stabilized in July with a very diminished flow.

 

In 2014 “Ecologists in Action” and “Groupo Ecologists of the Mediterranean”, filed demands and denounced the administration for failures of transparency and management  in regards to the over exploitation of the aquifer, “Aguas”.

 

In June 2014 Jose Maria Calaforra of Almeria University declared on Canal Sur, a local TV channel, that “El Rio De Aguas”, the only permanently flowing river in the province was being seriously threatened by super intensive olive production.

 

Any threats to the riverthreaten  both the protected Eco-systems and Humans. All are  reliant on the corridors of bio-diversity and the life giving water supplied by the flowing waters of “El Rio”.

 

Our Eco-systems are under EU directives for, (theoretical),  protection under the Nature 2000 network.

 

People are, (theoretically), protected by Human Rights, the Right to a Safe and Sustainable Environment and the Right to Water.

 

In 2014 we ramped up action on all sides.

 

We created a Facebook page “Ecocide El Rio De Aguas”with 25,000  “likes”.

 

I presented this case with  Polly Higgins of “End Ecocide” after she chose this as a clear case of Ecocide. We presented globally  for “World Café”

 

The “End Ecocide” team were brilliant with coverage throughout their networks.

 

I spoke of our case at an “End Ecocide” EU forum in Brussels.

 

The Environmental Justice group, EJOLT  took our case.Nick Meynen of EJOLT, gave us  excellenteditorial coverage and an inclusion on their atlas of worldwide cases of Ecocide.

 

Julian Stern of Edinburgh University helped us create our first and second documentaries, “Under Your Feet”, and, “Every Drop Counts”.

 

We are now on our fifth documentary, two from ourselves, one from Spanish National TV, and two from ARTE covering French, German. Polish and Swiss TV.

 

We received resonance and a support from all sides, however, our Andalucian Administration remained opaque even under the duress of the Aarhus Convention on transparency. !

 

“End Ecocide” enabled us to use their “Mail Chimp” to write to our 57 EU Commission deputies, asking them all for an interview. Angela Vallina and Florent Marcelillisi accepted.

 

We presented a written EU parliamentary question and a petition to the EU for help.

 

We also “denounced” the EU for failure to enforce their directives in respect of Nature 2000 protected Eco-systems.

 

Our case was accepted by all three areas of the EU, however, it became clear that the EU has no direct legal binding influence over the behavior of Nation States.

 

Letters were written by the EU authorities and reports were produced by our Administration in  2015.

 

Ion Holban of “New Environmentalist”, will testify and expand on those reports.

 

His conclusion, with evidence, shows that management of these protected eco systems is almost non-existent.

 

Ecological protections seemed to be no more than theoretical.

 

In 2015 I took our case to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva requesting special mechanisms of the UN to be brought into force in relation to protections under our Human Rights to a Safe and Sustainable Environment and under our Rights to Water.

 

Once again our claim was accepted as valid. John Knox, the UN Special Rapporteur on cases of failure to observe our Human Right to a Safe and Sustainable Environment agreed to look at our case under his UN Mandate of March 2015.

 

To date, in October 2017, despite further communications to the UN with updates on our critical situation, we have heard nothing.

 

It would appear that not only does the Environment have  little enforceable right to exist, but also, the same applies for Humans.

 

In 2014 Mari Margil of CEDLF, USA, drew up for us a draft ordenance for Sorbas giving us citizens, the right to prohibit industrial agriculture and  re-enforcing our rights to water. The ordenance also gives Rights of Nature to our river to EXIST.

 

Throughout 2014, 2015 and 2016 more and more exploitation was occurring on or aquifer, culminating now, in 2017 with an estimated six million olive trees under cultivation.

 

In the course of this year we have had to further “ramp up” our activities in our demands for PLANNING and TRANSPARENCY from the Administration.

 

We have used “digital social media” with over 500,000 people using our “hashtag”, issued “denuncios” and talked with Government both local and National.

 

National Government inform us that the Andalucian Administration are unable to co-ordinate action to effectively manage the water resources  of our aquifer Alto Aguas.

 

Evidence submitted to this Tribunal shows that Alto Aguas is threatened by an imminent total depletion of reserves.

 

I enclose a copy of an explanatory letter  that I sent to Sir David Attenborough in July of this year. I feel it summarizes the situation that we face.

 

“July 10th 2017

Dear David Attenborough,

I last wrote to you in March 2013 about the situation in the Cordillera Del Condor of South Eastern Ecuador. Thank you for your help.

I cannot report progress even though I accompanied two leaders of the Shuar Nation to the UN in Geneva where we enrolled the help of four Human Rights Special Rapporteurs.

Neither Human nor Environmental Rights are holding. I remain in close contact with leaders of the Shuar Nation who continue to do all they can to preserve their lands and their culture.

I am going to ask you once again for your help, in this case in reference to my own home and the threatened continuance of the existence of two Nature 2,000 zones El Paraje Natural Karst enYesos de Sorbas ES610002 and Sierra de Cabrera-Bédar (ES6110005).

 

 

These two sites both have the following protections.

 

SCI – Site of Community Importance (Lugares de ImportanciaComunitaria – LIC)
SAC – Special Area of Conservation (Zona de Especial Conservación – ZEC)

SPA –  Special Protection Area (Zona de Especial Protección para las Aves ZEPA)

 

The presence of unique ecosystems, including 17 protected habitats and numerous endemic and rare species make the park,  ElParaje Natural Karst enyesos de Sorbas ES610002 a “biodiversity hotspot” (MP 2015).

 

In the last 10 years a new type of super-intensive olive plantations, (1,800 trees per ha.), have added an immense pressure on the underground aquifer that feeds the protected zones.

 

The increased levels of humidity from the river create a micro-climate that ensures the survival of rich habitats with a low tolerance to semi-arid conditions.

 

Evapo-transpiration in this region (1000mm) can be 4 times higher than annual precipitation (260 mm) therefore, if the river is lost, these habitats will be unable to cope with the loss of humidity and increasing temperatures due to climate change.

 

We have been pursuing many forms of assistance; a question in the European Parliament, a denouncement to the European Commission and a Petition to the EU Petitions committee; enrollment of John Knox, Special Rapporteur to the UN for the Human Right to a Safe and Secure Environment, question to the Andaluz Parliament, and a number of “denouncements” to the Department of the Environment and the Junta de Andalucia from Ecologists in Action and GroupoEcologistasMediterraneo.

 

We are now on our fifth documentary. The last two are in the “cutting room” being produced by ARTE for German and French distribution and Swiss public TV

 

I have presented the case three times at the Objectiv Science International Geneva Forum Rights of Nature conferences at the UN in Geneva.

 

I have met Spanish MEP’s in Brussels and presented the case with Polly Higgins on a World Café broadcast.

 

Our case is with the selection committee for the International Tribunal for The Rights of Nature to be held alongside the COP 23 meeting in Bonn this year.

 

We are now applying to the Andalucian Ombudsman and the State Ombudsman for assistance as all other avenues have failed to produce measurable effective results. We have forwarded 50 attachments to the Ombudsmen.!

 

Here is a summary of the situation. The aquifer, Aguas 060.008 is in danger of becoming unusable because of over exploitation, primarily by industrial agriculture with the planting of super intensive olives at 1,800 trees per hectare. We estimate six million trees.

 

Figures:

 

Estimated resources less than 100Hm3

Sustainable use per annum – 5.6 Hm3

 

Figures prior to 2010 indicate exploitation of 16.8 Hm3 per year

 

2015 data – 5,500 hectares under irrigation creating a demand of between 22 Hm3 and 27 Hm3 per annum.

 

Divide these figures into estimated resources underground and the answer is that we have very little water left.

 

Previously irrigated land has been abandoned and villages supplied by spring water are now dry. Drinking water is supplied weekly by tanker to villages throughout the area.

 

Six million olive trees are now taking at least 10 liters per tree per day.

 

The situation is disastrous and a catastrophe is imminent.

Here are some words from the Government in Madrid in response to our question raised in the Congress of Deputies concerning the situation of the aquifer feeding the river Aguas and the possible measures that will be adopted.

“There is no coordination or agreement between the Directorate General for Water, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment and the Provincial Council or the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning of the Regional Government of Andalusia to adopt emergency solutions “. In their response, they leave any actions “for the horizon 2022-2027”.

The figures previously stated indicate with clarity that the aquifer will be unusable by 2022.

Do you think WWF or Flora and Fauna International would take on this case raising our profile and instigating International actions.?

If so, I would like to personally visit and speak with any contact that you would consider beneficial to us to discuss appropriate action.

The reality is that we may have as little as two years left before we are dry, creating an irreversible ecocide and an economic and social catastrophe.

This area is unique in Europe and in the Spanish TV documentary, the “off grid” village where I live is named as “The Last Oasis in Western Europe”.

I feel privileged to live here and privileged to be involved in our bid for survival.

Both these cases show money as being more powerful than both environmental and civil protections and thus strengthen our case in the promoting of the necessity to grant Nature rights and personhood equivalent to the personhood granted to corporations.

I remain optimistic.

Yours sincerely,

David F Dene”

 

I was gratified to receive a hand written reply from Sir David even though he said that as he was personally unfamiliar with the area, he felt that anything he might write would not yield results and he was sorry to fail us.

 

In 2017 we have applied to both the AndalucianOmbudsman  and the National Spanish Ombudsman for help.

 

We have had to do this. We are informed that there is no plan is in place for Alto Aquas, to avert this total depletion of water resources. A plan is talked about for 2022, by which time we will not need “a plan”.

 

Figures dictate that by 2022 there will be no resources to exploit from Alto Aquas., the aquifer will be unusable.

 

We are informed that climatic conditions and drought disallow the transfer of water from other provinces.

 

We are informed that the de-salination station in Carboneras does not have sufficient capacity to meet our existing needs AND that there is no financing of fifty seven million Euros to produce the water to send to inland Almeria.

 

The cost of a ton of water would be more than one Euro a ton.

 

Sixty thousand Euros a day for olive production negates all profits from olive production.

 

 

 

Determining Damages to Nature.

 

Without water “Nature” dies. The damage becomes a destruction of all species. This is an Ecocide.

 

In this location the subterranean waters of Alto Aguas have been sustaining life in these valleys since before the appearance of Humans on our Planet.

 

Neolithic cave paintings give us evidence that these valleys have been “cradles” for Nature and Humans throughout recorded history.

 

The damage being inflicted on Nature through the uncontrolled use and draining of the waters of Alto Aguas is almost unconceivable.

 

Ion Holbanof New Environmentalist will testify with details.

 

We are lucky to have such detailed analysis of the situation owing to the Nature 2000 network, and from a man who’s family is directly threatened with the pain, both spiritually and mentally, of displacement. The observation is of an eco-system in terminal decline. The observation is of an Ecocide whilst it is happening.

 

Ion’s testimony is based on the reports submitted by our AndalucianAdministration and his intimate knowledge of the area backed with his beautiful photography and his love.

 

We have report after report stating that measures need to be taken to reduce the overexploitation of Alto Aguas. These go back to 1998, then 2005, next 2010, now a horizon 2015-2021.

 

The damage can be seen from the air. We can see an ecological desert stripped of all “Natural” vegetation and bio diversity thus creating  “dead zones” to everything but super intensive olives.

 

The pure water of life is polluted with fertilizers and poisons and this “fortified” water is distributed over thousands of hectares destroying and poisoning the chain of life.

 

Within the enclosed memoranda we see year after year an increase in the over exploitation of this aquifer and words, year after year, stating the absolute necessity for control of water usage to bring the usage into line with sustainablilty.

 

“Not included in the preliminary list of MIMAM, the hydrogeological unit 06.08 Alta Aguas, which was listed in the SRPHCS as overexploited, and estimated that withdrawals were exceeded in 2000 by more than 20% average total resources evaluated by the IGME .

“The increased pumping for irrigation in recent years has led to a situation of absolute unsustainability, bringing the exploitation rate of 3.3, in 2010, which means that withdrawals exceeded by 330% the available resources.

Now in 2017 using data from Google Earth we can estimate overexploitation at 400 % of estimated reserves.

 

The evidence statistically, through photography, and through personal testament show that the Rights of Mother Earth are being violated.

 

I quote excerpts from the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earthitemizing violations occurring in our neighbourhood as a result of Administrative inaction.

 

“Article 2. Inherent Rights of Mother Earth

(a)  the right to life and to exist;

(b)  the right to be respected;

(c)  the right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions;

(d)  the right to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating and interrelated being;

(e)  the right to water as a source of life;

(g)  the right to integral health;

(h)   the right to be free from contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste;

(i)    the right to not have its genetic structure modified or disrupted in a manner that threatens its integrity or vital and healthy functioning; – The super intensive olives are modified genetically.

(j)    the right to full and prompt restoration for violation of the rights recognized in this Declaration caused by human activities;

(2)  Each being has the right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth for her harmonious functioning.

(3)  Every being has the right to wellbeing and to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings.”

 

The evidence is unrefutably testified to in 5 documentaries and in memorandums supplied by the Department of the Environment, Almeria University, and technical departments of the Junta, (Government) of Andalucia.

 

I quote article 3 pointing the way forwards for Humanity to live in harmony with Nature.

Ecocide is the ultimate violation of harmony with Nature  bringing death to all.

 

“Article 3. Obligations of Human Beings to Mother Earth

(1)  Every Human Being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth.

(2)  Human beings, all States, and all public and private institutions must:

(a)  act in accordance with the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;

(b)  recognize and promote the full implementation and enforcement of the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;

(c)  promote and participate in learning, analysis, interpretation and communication about how to live in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with this Declaration;

(d)  ensure that the pursuit of human wellbeing contributes to the wellbeing of Mother Earth, now and in the future;

(e)  establish and apply effective norms and laws for the defence, protection and conservation of the rights of Mother Earth;

(f)   respect, protect, conserve and where necessary, restore the integrity, of the vital ecological cycles, processes and balances of Mother Earth;

(g)  guarantee that the damages caused by human violations of the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration are rectified and that those responsible are held accountable for restoring the integrity and health of Mother Earth;

(h)  empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings;

(i)    establish precautionary and restrictive measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction, the destruction of ecosystems or the disruption of ecological cycles;

(k)  promote and support practices of respect for Mother Earth and all beings, in accordance with their own cultures, traditions and customs;

(l)    promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration.”

 

Now, having determined that everything talked about in the presentation is true and is backed by “hard” evidence, we need to determine who is responsible for these multiple violations of The Universal Rights of Mother Earth.

 

Determination of Responsibility

 

 

We have a massive amount of evidence in memoranda showing that the Junta De Andalucia have been aware of the need for precautionary principles to be be applied in the case of the over exploitation of Alto Aguas since 1998.

 

In memoranda of 1988, 2005, 2010 and in the planning memorandum 2015-2021, we can read the same words. “Exploitation of the aquifer is dangerously above sustainable levels and must be addressed”.

 

These memoranda “self incriminate” the Administration as we can see by their own figures that no action has been taken to alleviate the situation with a complete “impasse” in 2017 when no plans are contemplated until 2022, at which time, by their own figures the aquifer Alto Aguas will be exhausted.

 

In the last months we have been able to stop the deepening of a well by the Munoz family, (lawyers and judges), and the planting of 40,000 super intensive ALMONDS 800 meters from the spring of El Rio within the area of Special Habitat protection. The land is owned by a Gypsum mining company active in the area and providing employment.

 

You can see pictures of these violations which we submitted to Ecologists in Action, GEM and their lawyers.

 

In both cases the Medio Ambiente, (Department of the Environment), stepped in to stop these violations of both EU directives and local laws.

 

This represents the tip of an iceberg of Environmental violations. These two cases show that the Administration is unable to note abuses taking place over the 5,000 hectares of irrigated land.

 

The responsibility for vigilance and control of water extractions lies with the Administration. They show themselves to have been incapable of opposing the forces of the Industrialization of Agriculture.

 

Having said that they are now taking action on illegal bore holes and unauthorized extractions, however, that is not the solution to returning the aquifer to sustainable levels.

 

Determination of repair and full restoration.

 

The situation can only be described as “out of control”. Extractions are calculated for 2018 at 27 Hm3. Sustainable extraction is estimated to be 5.6 Hm3.

 

In 2015 the Andalucia Multi Territorial Information System, (SIGMA) declared that we have 4,671 hectares of irrigated olive trees taking water from the aquifer AltoAguas, plus a further 850 hectares of other crops under irrigation giving us a total of 5.501 hectares.  A large part of the olive plantations are devoted to super intensive olives planted at 1,800 trees per hectare.

The financial losses which would be incurred by returning the aquifer to sustainability would impact the GDP of Almeria and Andalucia.

The financial losses that would be incurred through no action would also impact the GDP of Almeria and Andalucia. All social and economic development would come to an end.

Returning the aquifer to sustainability would slow down further damage to eco systems and human well being.

Repair and full restoration are impossible in this situation.

 

Existing legal frameworks and ideas for halting overexploitation.

 

Frameworks for control are within the power of the Junta de Andalucia and are noted in the 2010 memoranda of management agreed between the EU and the Junta.

 

The Ombudsmen could halt over exploitation.

 

If these “bodies” took full responsibility for these violations to both Nature and Human well-being, the situation would improve.

To date we have no signs of any solution coming from our Administration or from the Ombudsmen.

 

Recommendations.

 

I would recommend that the Medio Ambiente and the Junta declare the 2017 super intensive olive harvest to be the last and all future super intensive agriculture on the aquifer to be prohibited.

 

I would recommend the implementation of local municipal ordenances to prohibit industrial agriculture in the relevant municipalities, creating Civil Rights and Rights of Nature for “El Rio De Aguas” to exist.  using the draft ordenance provided by Mari Margil of CEDLF drafted in 2014.

I would recommend a class action to be taken by families who have been displaced and who have lost their livelihoods. I would propose this action be levied against the Administration for criminal negligence.

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