Parched amid plenty

Published: Thursday 15 March 2001

the Spanish government has approved a plan to transfer water from the Ebro, one of Spain's largest rivers, to the parched southern part of the country. Ecologists opine that the plan violates the European Union's (eu) laws on water management and nature protection. It would also ruin the habitat of the Iberian lynx, a species of cat on the verge of extinction. "Taking water out of just one river to irrigate the entire Spain cannot be right," said Pascual Maragall, a politician from the northeastern Catalonia region. Environmentalists are pressurising eu authorities to withhold funding for the plan, which is expected to cost us $21 billion. The government officials claim that the project complies with environmental standards. The project, held back for 15 years, would provide 70 litres of water each day to every Spanish citizen.

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