Local Daily News 20th June

The salt company requires the Segura Hydrographic Confederation to repair the post-transfer leak from the Tajo that discharges into the protected lagoon of Torrevieja

The Torrevieja salt company is going to address the Segura Hydrographic Confederation to ask it to take immediate measures to stop a discharge of permanent and surface water flows from an alleged break in the irrigation channel of the Tajo-Segura transfer to which would add flows from the agricultural irrigation drainage of the Campo de Salinas.

Sources from Salins España, a French multinational tenant of one of the most important salt flats in Europe, stated that they have been able to verify on the ground the existence of a constant flow along the Lo Masera boulevard to La Marquesa, a contribution that they believe that it does not have a natural origin. It is a discharge, they insist, that the Segura Hydrographic Confederation should investigate, otherwise they will report the situation to the Civil Guard because the arrival of these waters in the lagoon can affect the production in the salt mine.

Salins suspects that the water comes from a break in the Campo de Cartagena post-transfer channel, which in the Vega Baja runs along the route between the La Pedrera reservoir and Pilar de la Horadada through the upper area of ​​the Torrevieja lagoon watershed. However, farmers consulted by this newspaper assure that the flow comes mainly from a natural spring in Lo Masera, upstream of the canal, recharged with the cycle of torrential episodes since the end of 2016. The flow of this route of several kilometres would be added on the other hand, the drainage of the citrus terraces that it crosses, but the farmers warn that the waters are loaded with salinity, due to the composition of the soils that it crosses. And they don’t reach the salt pan because there is a drainage network that prevents it next to the lagoon.

The infrastructure of the transfer, and also the underground of the Mancomunidad de Canales del Taibilla in this area, have suffered serious and constant breakdowns and losses in the last 30 years derived from the lack of maintenance, and above all, the type of soil on the that these large conduits are settled, very permeable plasters that favour underground galleries and instability of the ground. Regardless of its origin, this constant and superficial flow, estimated at 50 litres per second, has caused constant conflicts between farmers for almost a decade. Some owners have transformed the land to prevent the entry of this water -very saline- from affecting their farms.

One of them built a wall in the section of the boulevard at the height of La Clevilla, land that it would also have occupied, supposedly causing the diversion of water to areas that had never before been flooded when the natural bed of the ravine was occupied. The wall has a licence from the previous government team of the City Council of San Miguel de Salinas, the Provincial Court has resolved its demolition in a resolution that can be appealed. With these transformations, the water ends up flowing along a public neighbourhood road instead of along its natural course. As usual for these cases, the Segura Hydrographic Confederation has not wanted to demarcate the boulevard to determine exactly which area is affected by the public hydraulic domain.

The government team does not comment on the flooding of the public road, the authorization of these works to individuals or the project that has been proposed to solve part of these problems of flooding of farms with a sustainable urban drainage plan with a budget item of the Generalitat that reaches 400,000 and that does not appear in the public information of the municipal management.

In addition to this problem of water supply, there is another in the Rambla de la Fayona, further south, where the Segura Hydrographic Confederation has supposedly authorised the effluent of treated water from the La Balsa urbanisation treatment plant at the request of the San Miguel de Salinas City Council. The farmers requested, without success, to reuse it for irrigation. In an “incomprehensible” decision for the irrigators, the Segura Hydrographic Confederation did not allow it and the treated water -under quality criteria with quite limited control- ends up flowing into the lagoon through its natural course.

On the other hand, the entire edge of the wetland has a collector that runs parallel to its southern edge, and that should collect all the drainage water from the irrigation of the Campo de Salinas. The underground tube was built in the 1980s, but not to safeguard the salt lagoon, but rather to prevent the crops closest to the wetland from being affected by the underground seepage of the agricultural drainage located on terraces at higher levels. This collector must transfer the water to an underwater outfall off the coast of Torrevieja, between La Veleta and Cala Lo Ferrís, far from the coast. But there is no certainty that it is fulfilling that function. When it tried to be used to dislodge water from the salt flats after the DANA at the end of 2016 that affected Torrevieja, it was blinded. Everything points to the area between the Torrevieja Hospital and the sewage treatment plant as the main “suspect” for receiving the drainage, which would reach it by gravity, filtration or discharge. Areas where thick reeds grow that could hardly survive in the hypersaline environment.

Another important variable of the problem is the content of the water. Almost all the farmers consulted indicate that the analyses of those that arrive in La Marquesa only have a minimum contribution of nitrates and products derived from agricultural production and, above all, reflect a high conductivity.

A stack of pallets burns outside a warehouse in Cox

Firefighters extinguished a fire on Sunday morning outside an industrial warehouse in Cox. The fire started around 11:45 a.m. outside a juice company and could not be put out until 2:30 p.m.

According to the first information, the fire would not have affected the interior of the warehouse, located at kilometre 541 of the A-7, but only the exterior, in which there were several pallets. The flames generated a column of smoke and several drivers saw the fire while driving their vehicles.

Almost a dozen members of the Alicante Provincial Firefighters Consortium have travelled to the scene of the event. In total, 6 firefighters from the Orihuela and Almoradí Park, 2 corporals and a sergeant were required in the intervention. Among the means used, firefighters used 2 heavy rural pumps. According to the same sources, there have been no injuries as a result of the fire.

A driver under the influence of alcohol in Cox is brought to justice

Earlier this week there was a traffic accident in the municipality of Cox, where luckily there is only material damage made.

The Cox-Granja Local Police have reported that the driver gave a result of more than four times the permitted rate (1.06mg/l) for expired air.

The affidavit is in court after the driver committed an alleged crime against road safety (article 379.2 Penal Code) by driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages, punishable by imprisonment from 3 to 6 months, or a fine of 6 to 12 months, and in any case, with the withdrawal of the driving licence for a period of 1 to 4 years.

Fortunately, on this occasion there is only material damage to the vehicle and the damaged lamp post that was left in the middle of the road.

A loggerhead turtle walks the beaches of Vega Baja and is rescued by the Torrevieja lifeguard service

The Torrevieja lifeguard service, the Environment unit of the Local Police and the municipal biologist mobilised Friday to rescue a young loggerhead sea turtle that, somewhat confused and unwilling to explore deeper waters, landed at various points in the south coast of Vega Baja during the day on Friday.

A day earlier, on Thursday, 12 loggerhead turtles had been released into the sea in La Manga del Mar Menor from a nest that was found in 2020 in Ensenada del Esparto, also in the Region of Murcia. Collected and cared for in the recovery centre of the Oceanogràfic in Valencia, they have remained for two years in what is called head starting -or initial advantage. A procedure that consists of keeping the specimens in captivity until they reach a size large enough to reduce (not eliminate) the risks of predation that would occur if they were released as soon as they were born.

One of these young sea turtles, however, decided to take a very coastal route, heading north, towards Alicante waters, and this Friday ended up inside the Cabo Roig Marina, in Orihuela Costa. There she was rescued by the sailors and released back into the sea. But this specimen is seen to be more drawn by the coast. She again traced a route very close to the coastline so that bathers who enjoyed the transparent waters of Cala La Mosca could see her with the naked eye swimming without problems practically on the shore of this corner of the Orihuela costa.

Chano-chano, as they say in the Vega Baja, continued its itinerary freely heading north, so that mid-afternoon yesterday, the coordinator of the lifeguard services of the Torrevieja City Council alerted the municipal biologist, Juan Antonio Pujol, that the animal had reached the beach of Los Náufragos. He was found by two bathers who immediately reported him to the beach staff.

At that time, the municipal protocol arranged for these cases was activated. The Environment unit of the Local Police came to take charge of the specimen, while the biologist alerted the team that monitors this species at the University of Valencia and the Oceanographic. The veterinarians of this last centre confirmed that it was one of the specimens released on Thursday in La Manga, so they decided to reintroduce the animal to the sea, trying to prevent it from staying near the coastal area where, just started the summer season, the activity of motor boats is numerous.

This was taken care of yesterday afternoon by the lifeguard service with its local coordinator in charge and a jet ski. The turtle was taken to the height of Cabo Cervera to try so that this time it can follow its own path through deeper waters. However, in the coming days we will be attentive in case it has a special fondness for short distances and appears at another point on the Valencian coast.

Marine biologists and veterinarians agree that despite the difficulties inherent in the release of animals that have been bred in captivity, it is always best to try this introduction into the wild.

On the other hand, Pujol asks tourists and the population in general to pay special attention to the beaches of Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa, Pilar de la Horadada and Guardamar, “because any night an adult female loggerhead sea turtle could come out to lay eggs.” In that case, he recalls that you have to call 112 immediately so that the regional protocol is put into operation and, most importantly, “above all, that the turtle is not disturbed.”

The municipalities in the south of the province request to be as well connected as the north

“We want to connect (by rail) two regions (La Safor and Marina Alta) that are the only ones on the coast that are not.” These words of the new Minister of Transport, Rebeca Torró, pronounced last week in Parliament after announcing the tram project between Dénia and Gandía, which will cost 250 million, have caused surprise as well as outrage in the “south of the south” of the Community, where the railway connection along the coast is conspicuous by its absence. Torró “derailed” in her statements. In the map of the railway connections in the province of Alicante, you can see at a glance the emptiness of lines in the coastal towns of the southern regions, precisely where a large population is concentrated, not only residents, but also floating, due to the flow of tourists they attract. However, communications are even worse than in the last century, when there was a train line that was the backbone of Vega Baja.

The Minister’s words have returned to recall old ghosts, in fact those that have never left. The oblivion of the south of the Community. “Ignorance of the territories leads you to commit these lapses.” Who pronounces this phrase, referring to Rebeca Torró, is not a mayor of the PP, but of the PSOE, that of Guardamar del Segura, José Luis Sáez, of his own party. However, for Sáez, “we have never missed the train, because we have never had it here.” However, he would welcome the arrival of the railway infrastructure, but he is aware of the difficulties it faces.

The Santa Pola salt flats, the Guardamar pine forest and the Lagunas de La Mata and Torrevieja natural park make it impossible to take the so-called Tren de la Costa to the south of the Valencian Community along the coast. Protected spaces make the project that has been talked about for years unfeasible from a landscape and environmental point of view. “Everything is very consolidated and now trying to introduce a railway line along the coast seems impossible, and if it has not been done in the 80s and 90s, less so now with more protection,” says Sáez.

The mayor of Torrevieja, the popular Eduardo Dolón, recognizes the infeasibility of taking the railway to his city along the coast from Alicante, but he does bet on using the current railway route inland and connecting it with the coast from Orihuela. “We are talking about a viable connection and the best solution to structure the south of the province,” says Dolón. It refers to the study carried out by the University of Alicante (UA), under the direction of Professor Armando Ortuño, and promoted by the Orihuela and Torrevieja consistories, with the endorsement of the Provincial Council, which would link both cities and other towns in the Vega by train Short. The project is estimated at between 200 and 270 million euros, although the investment could be lowered if, as both commissions requested from the Ministry of Infrastructure, future works on the CV-95 are taken advantage of so that everything goes on a single platform and the layout parallel to that road.

The UA study estimates a flow of passengers of 1.2 million (the majority coming from or going to Madrid through the AVE stop in Orihuela), which would justify the investment, with transport that does not rules out that, instead of a conventional train, it is a tram, Tram or electrified bus on a reserved platform. Dolón has requested a meeting with the new Minister of Public Works, Rebeca Torró, to find out if the Generalitat has already studied the project and joins it. The UA, in parallel, is carrying out another study to determine the way in which this transport would enter Torrevieja from Los Balcones, the section that remained to be resolved and that would also connect the hospital.

The new mayor of Orihuela, the socialist Carolina Gracia, has found that study at her table that was planned by the previous councillor, the popular Emilio Bascuñana. However, the councillor has not responded to repeated requests from this newspaper to give her point of view, despite the relevance of this matter for the coastal area of ​​her municipality, which, in addition to a high population, receives thousands of tourists.

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