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NEWS: The right to water in San Miguel de Salinas, Spain

The Spanish newspaper The Leader reports that, “Safe and clean drinking water is a human right, that is according to declarations made last year by both the United Nations and the European Union… Over large parts of the world, however, there are still many areas where humans have inadequate access to potable water and use sources contaminated with unacceptable levels of toxins.”

In La Fillipinas (in San Miguel de Salinas, Spain in the southernmost region of Alicante province, located within the autonomous Valencian Community) “large deposits of salt contaminate the drinking water supply… Last week the town’s Planning Officer, Sergio Correas, spoke exclusively to the Leader Newspaper in his San Miguel office and what he had to say suggests that things are finally beginning to move.”

The controversy started more than seven years ago. In December 2010, the CoastRider.net reported that, “The European Union has begun proceedings against Spain for the supply of contaminated drinking water in the Blue Lagoon urbanisation in San Miguel de Salinas. On June 24, 2010, the Petitions Committee reported to Parliament the onset of an infringement procedure against Spain for breach of the Water Directive in relation to the supply of drinking water to the satellite urbanisations of San Miguel known as Blue Lagoon. The area, which incorporates more than 3,000 homes, has a salty water supply said to be contaminated by nitrates due to the age and materials of the wells used by a private company. The neighbourhood association San Miguel Archangel reported this matter as long ago as 2004, following independent scientific analysis commissioned by the College of Pharmacists of Alicante, which confirmed the unhealthy state of the water.”

Today The Leader reported that “The specification for the work has been written and the company’s considered capable of carrying it out, thought to be about six, have been identified. Despite objections to the venture by the Neighbourhood Association Archangel, fronted by Manuel Gomez, it is anticipated that the tender process, which will take approximately three months, will begin in March, with the works getting underway in the early part of the summer.”

But The CoastRider.net adds in another article last month that, “The Neighbourhood Association believes that the stratospheric rise in the cost will be funded directly and exclusively out of the pockets of taxpayers paying the water bill, and claims this decision has been made in silence behind the backs of the towns residents. If the details are correct then the 30-year concession would seriously affect the financial situation of all the residents involved.” The Leader notes, “Claims by (the Neighbourhood Association) Arcangel that costs to the local residents will rise by 500% were described by Snr Correas as ‘absolutely ridiculous’. Correas explained that the present pipework is old and defective and must all be replaced. ‘This is what will take the time and make up a large proportion of the cost’ he continued. ‘But a lot of the funding is being provided by the European Union through the Valencian Government so the cost to local taxpayers will be far less than figures currently being suggested by Arcangel.’”

The UK Roundtownnews further explains that, “The mayor of San Miguel, Angel Sáez, announced that (the Blue Lagoon Urbanisation in San Miguel Salinas) will receive clean water from two areas, from the desalination plant in San Pedro del Pinatar and also from the urban centre of San Miguel… The project will consist of connecting the water pipes leading from the Murcian desalination plant to a stretch of pipes measuring 500m, which will supply the private houses with potable water.”

The Leader article is at http://www.theleader.info/article/27104/spain/costa-blanca/correas-promises-drinking-water-within-two-years/. The RTN article is at http://www.roundtownnews.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27110&Itemid=9. The CoastRider.net articles are at http://www.coastridernet/news/local-news/10991-san-miguel-water-issue-heats-up and http://www.coastrider.net/news/local-news/10516-eu-steps-in-over-contaminated-drinking-water.