The new culture of water in Spain: A philosophy towards a sustainable development

[The new culture of water in Spain: A philosophy towards a sustainable development]

The semiarid conditions of most of Spain have allowed for the existence of very rich historical "water cultures", what considered water both as a necessary resource and a source of spiritual well being. The Spanish "Regenerationism" of the ideologist Joaquín Costa, at the beginning of the 20th century, proposed the construction of hydraulic public works and the transformation of dry lands into irrigated ones, as a means for the economic and social development of the country. During the second half of the 20th century the powerful technology and public funding allowed for the construction of hundreds of irrigation and hydroelectric reservoirs and a few out-of-basin diversions. Along with the increase of water pollution, these systems caused a severe environmental impact that has been described as the "Spanish Hydrologic Holocaust" (Martínez-Gil, 1997). Although Spain already has one of the highest dam/habitant and dam/surface ratios in the world, the recently approved Spanish National Hydrologic Plan (NHP) will oversee the construction of more than 100 new reservoirs and an out-of-basin diversion of 1000 Hm3/year from the Ebro River towards the SE littoral provinces of Spain. This will have a major environmental and social impact in some Pyrenean valleys, the Ebro Delta and the receiving provinces (Del Moral-Ituarte, in press), clearly opposed to the principles and objectives of the European Water Framework Directive (EWFD, 2000/60/CE). It will also support the unsustainable urban and tourist development of the Mediterranean Littoral provinces (Arrojo- Agudo, 2003). The New Culture of Water (NCW) is a social and scientific movement that assuming the ecosystemic perception of the EWFD also considers the relationships of water with human spiritual facet, therefore proposing a certain water ethics. The NCW positions itself in a “holistic” perception of water.

European Water Association (EWA)

Language: Inglés

Format: PDF

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