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News Espinosa wants the Zaragoza Charter to be the “world reference” on water

Elena Espinosa (Spanish Minister of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs) asserted that the Government wants the “Zaragoza Charter” – with the conclusions from the debates in the Water Tribune in the International Exposition in Zaragoza 2008 – “to be a world reference in water affairs”.

For Espinosa, it is “an obligation that goes further than the Spanish Government can” and the objective is that it marks out the future on which political leaders need to work to be able to preserve the quality of this resource that is “strategic and scarce in some countries”, as well as supply it to the whole population.

Regarding the subject of the sessions – dedicated to “New sources of water: reuse and desalination” – Espinosa emphasised that the scarcity of the resource means optimising its use and managing it efficiently and in an integrated fashion. Also required are an improvement in the efficiency of the infrastructures and the use of alternative sources.

The Government, she said, has been aware of this need since the beginning of the previous legislature and has focused part of its attention on generating new resources through the desalination of sea water. This is a “safe and viable” technique which is created as a “strategic” element to confront water scarcity, particularly in areas with water structure deficits in which there are no alternative resources.

In 2004, she underlined, Spain had practically no cubic hectometres from desalination plants but, since then, 8 plants have been set into operation generating 240 hm3 per year and the construction of a further 12 along the Mediterranean coast and in the Canaries was nearing completion. In total, these will produce more than 700 hm3, meaning that the country will be “at the head” of those using this technology.

Espinosa asserted that it was the companies that have become international leaders in their speciality. She stressed the major investments that will be put into action in water management – and in desalination in particular – with the aim to reach over €19,500 million by 2015.

In addition, there is reuse which constitutes an alternative source of resources and which allows efficiency to be increased in integrated water management – upping the number of current water uses, she said.

The conferences featured the participation of Roque Gistau (president of the Expo), Eduardo Mestre (director of the Water Tribune), Gonzalo Arguilé (Minister for Agriculture in Aragon) and Ángel Cajigas (managing director of the Technological Association for Water Treatment [ATTA]). The latter noted that although Spain only recovers 13% of its purified water, it is the leading European country in reuse and second in the world, only behind Israel which recovers 75%.

In his turn, Arguilé referred to the “Zaragoza Charter” and remembered that in May ’68 a charter was created in Strasbourg in which, with 13 pronouncements, the need to preserve water quality was already being talked about and he noted that what is important about the commitments that are established is that they are fulfilled because after 40 years “not enough has been done”. 



Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
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Source of information EFE- Expo Zaragoza
Keyword(s) water reuse, desalination, water scarcity
Geographical coverage Spain
News date 19/09/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH