Thursday, August 17, 2006

The national police say the new penalties have reduced the average speed on Spain’s roads by 4%. By my reckoning, this means that people will now be flashing past me on the autopistas at a sedate 173kph [108mph], compared with the previous insane 180kph [113mph].

Given Spain’s temperatures and shortage of rain – at least in bits of the country south of here – you’d think care would be taken with water here. In fact, the NWF claim management of this precious commodity is poorer in Spain than anywhere else in the developed world. Coincidentally, figures issued yesterday suggest the country’s reservoirs are at only 44% of capacity, the lowest level in 10 years. I seem to recall reading water is considerably cheaper here than elsewhere in Europe, which would explain a lot. So I guess it’s not hard to predict price rises.

Another thing I remember reading was that the EU authorities were going to crack down on spam emails. I guess this must be why I received a mere 30 today.

Today’s Fire Facts

According to whom you believe, the provisional total of Galician land burned is 77,000 hectares [the regional government], 86,000 hectares [the EU] or 175,500 hectares [the opposition party]. The smallest figure is equivalent to the whole of Madrid and a few of its outlying townships. And also represents 2.6% of Galicia’s land mass.

The worst effected province was Pontevedra, which lost 50% of its trees.

Dealing with the fires consumed 6% of Galicia’s water, at a time when[see above] reservoir levels are worryingly low.

12 of the 28 people arrested have been jailed, awaiting trial. None of these are accused of taking part in a criminal conspiracy. Or of being ‘forestal terrorists’.

10,000 wild animals [mostly horses] have had their habitat destroyed.

Local hotels have received 650 cancellations.

If the recommendations of ecologists are implemented, 14 million plants will be needed to prevent soil erosion.

And a final fact that’s got nothing to do with the fire but which has a Galician connection – the mini submarine found in the Bay of Vigo would have been capable of bringing 3,000 kilos of cocaine close to the shore. No one seems to know why it was abandoned. Perhaps it leaked over the produce.

1 comment:

David said...

Reading your blog prompted me to think about water usage here in Catalonia. Now I do not know what the rest of Spain uses water for - that is apart from keeping us humans alive. What I do know is that Valencia uses prodigious amounts of H2O to keep the golf courses watered and to provide an ever increasing supply to developers so they can build more golf courses. This in turn justifies the argument that more tourists and population in general are needed to be attracted to the area so that the golf courses can be used - that in turn justifies the urge to build more flats and houses, and or course make a small profit on the way.

In Catalonia they have a few golf courses but they have not pursued this method of water usage as in general the geographical landscape is mountainous rather than plains. In an effort to out do Valencia in the water wastage stakes Catalonia residents appear to be hell bent on providing vast amounts of irrigated water to feed the totally valueless orange groves which abound here - the oranges sell for 12 cents per kilo if you are lucky. We pay about 9 Euros a month for water which is measured by meter for our 2nd floor flat. Not a 100 meters from us there are Orange groves which are continually irrigated from a canal which is fed by the Ebro. The water wastage has to be seen to be believed. On top of that I would think the charge for water usage by the Fincas is virtually non existent as there are no water meters and what they do pay, bears no comparison to what the flat resident has to pay.

Catalonia residents are not at all happy at seeing 'their' precious water being transferred south by the canal system and do their very best to deter usage of water by other states by tipping rubbish in the canal rather than walk 50 yards to the nearest Basura.

No doubt there are laws against pollution, rubbish dumping and dangerous driving - but hell who cares - this is Spain!