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Reflexiones_sobre_el_agua en el siglo XXI, España

Reflexiones_sobre_el_agua en el siglo XXI, España

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Published by tourismaldeadavila
Reflexiones sobre el agua en el siglo XXI, por un ingeniero
Reflexiones sobre el agua en el siglo XXI, por un ingeniero

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Published by: tourismaldeadavila on Apr 05, 2011
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03/19/2013

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REFLEXIONES SOBRE EL AGUA EN EL SIGLO XXIJOSÉ TORÁN, UN INGENIERO INSÓLITOJOSÉ TORÁN, UN INGENIERO HIDRÁULICO
 
Abstract
1. This short work has been conceived out of admiration for José Torán, theeminent hydraulic engineer, and also out of concern for the current driftof Water Policy in Spain.After a brief tribute to the memory of José Torán, and quoting some ofhis ideas that continue to provide us with food for thought, we examinetwo major themes: Spain’s Water Heritage and Water Management inthe 21st Century.2. Spain’s Water Heritage, comprising more than one thousand dams andreservoirs, is of overwhelming importance to our country, and yet wehave been incapable of explaining its importance to Spanish society.As those of us who are hydraulic engineers are well aware, Spain would,because of the irregularity of its rivers, only have approximately 9% of itsrain and snowfalls available as resources under natural conditions. Forthis reason, it has been necessary to build more than a thousand largedams to ensure that some 40% of precipitations are available as aresource.It could be said that if it were not for Spain’s dams and reservoirs, onlyone million hectares could be irrigated instead of the present three millionand there would be insufficient reserves of water to supply 44 millioninhabitants.The importance of our Water Heritage was appreciated by Torán, whodid his utmost to get the message across. In 1964, as a result of hisinitiative, the Spanish Government invited the Bureau of Reclamation toSpain on a tour of inspection of the country’s main hydraulic engineeringinstallations, which brought international recognition of our work in itswake.In 1970, Torán published The Heritage of Spanish Dams in English,written by Dr. Norman A.F. Smith of Imperial College, London.The National Committee of Large Dams also realised the value of ourWater Heritage when it listed “making public opinion aware of thebenefits accruing to the general welfare from large dams and reservoirs”as one of its objectives. It must be recognised, however, that we havenot really managed to achieve that objective.With the aim of contributing to this task, we have put together the basicinformation on large reservoirs, paying special attention to the part
 
relating to water, reservoir capacity and water surface area, grouped byriver basin, and completed with photographs chosen for their beauty.3. After recalling some of Torán’s ideas, the chapter on WATERMANAGEMENT IN THE 21st CENTURY goes on to review theConclusions of the White Paper on Water, and to comment on the so-called New Water Culture, which I consider pretentious, including, as itdoes, ideas and concerns that have existed in our country for manyyears, such as: the importance of management, the need for rationalwater use, the reduction in the volume of water destined for agriculture,better organisation of the Water Administration, reuse and desalination.The WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE is commented on extensively,highlighting its flaws, not only from the author’s point of view but alsociting experts, a prestigious jurist and several civil engineers.The unwarranted, mythic status accorded to the Framework Directivein Spain, as if it were the only Guide to water management, iscriticised.The Framework Directive is also criticised for its lack of attention tothe problem of “quantity”, which is crucial to Spain.This Directive is criticised for its lack of expository clarity. On manyoccasions it is both confused and confusing.This Directive is considered to be overambitious and, consequently,plans for the very long term, which is discouraging in view of theabsence of positive results.The Framework Directive is considered to have contributed to thetension between engineering and the environment, which isextremely negative.4. And to conclude, some proposals:Characteristics of the Water resource.A State pact on Water Policy is needed.The Water Administration’s organisation should be improved.Our Water Heritage should be valued.The volume of water destined for Agriculture should be reduced.

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