De Zárate exposes the solutions adopted to ensure the protection of people, goods and environments in the event of heavy storms so that they can be exported to other locations
Benidorm values its Municipal Plan against floods and municipal investments in Les Corts
The mayor highlights the investment effort made by the city because of the lack of financing from the Generalitat and the CHJ
The Municipal Action Plan against the risk of Floods in Benidorm, recently approved, has reached Les Corts Valencianes today, specifically to the Special Commission that is in charge of studying risk prevention measures in the face of strong storms. Before the deputies of Les Corts, the Councilor for the Water Cycle, José Ramón González de Zárate, explained the scope and measures contemplated by this Municipal Plan so that, if the Commission considers it, they are exported and implemented in other points of the Valencian Community.
This Commission aims to analyze the management that has been done in recent decades in water, territorial and urban matters to prevent the risks of large storms, based on the information, measures and practical cases of municipalities and different administrations. The idea is that based on these examples, "possible actions to reduce social, economic and environmental vulnerability in this territory in the face of future virulent episodes such as the Gloria storm that occurred in January 2020" are established.
Before the hemicycle, De Zárate has highlighted that "Benidorm is one of the few municipalities in the Valencian Community that has its own plan" of these characteristics and that it has already received "the approval of the competent Ministry and the Directorate Emergency General”; as well as he has also highlighted "the very important investments made by the City Council to solve the problems of flooding in the city".
The mayor has transferred the keys and details of this Municipal Plan, which is in the phase of exposure to the public, aimed at ensuring "the protection of people, property and environment in case of major storms." As he has explained, "the Plan includes the 21 detailed points of Benidorm where we have flooding problems, of which practically all are already solved or in the process of being resolved". "A solution -he clarified- that has come from the City Council, which in recent years has made million-dollar investments to resolve incidents and avoid material and personal damage in these areas when episodes of heavy rain occur."
Regarding the two pending points, De Zárate explained that "the City Council has already proposed the solutions and has drawn up the projects to act in these areas", among which are the Barceló ravine and the Murtal avenue. In both actions, the mayor has stressed that to date "no economic or administrative support has been found from the Generalitat or the Júcar Hydrographic Confederation to be able to develop these projects."
According to De Zárate, this "absence of financing" by the regional administration and the basin organization is "a constant tonic", which "Benidorm has had to supply with its funds, with the effort and kidney of the City Council and the citizens. , to have a water network with a performance of 96%, to have 75% of its sewage renewed and to carry out all the necessary works to prevent flooding”.
Likewise, the councillor for the Water Cycle has announced in Les Corts that "this same month of April the City Council will have the Climate Change Adaptation Plan prepared, which will become public in one or two weeks and will be approved in full at the end of the month”.
In addition to highlighting "the Municipal Flood Plan itself and the investments made in recent years to solve them", the mayor has taken advantage of his intervention in Les Corts to "demand" that the legislation on water and sanitation be done "listening to the municipalities and the citizens”; and to claim the investments that Benidorm and the region need and deserve, some of which have been on the table for decades”. "In Benidorm and the Marina Baixa, things have been done well and it is only fair to recognize it and compensate for that good work with investments", he pointed out.
Regarding the required actions, De Zárate has stated that "they would prevent the dismantled water from being lost in the sea", "they would favour greater use of reused water" and, as in the case of the desalination plant proposed by Benidorm, "they would increase their resources of the region”.
At this point, he has referred to the fact that "the CHJ still does not dredge Guadalest and Amadorio reservoirs, which is why their capacity is reduced", nor has the pipeline that connects both reservoirs been built so that the water can be transferred from one to another. Nor does the investment arrive to undertake the necessary projects in Barceló and Murtal ravines.
Lack of investment by EPSAR and request for changes in the Sanitation Law
Special emphasis has been made by De Zárate on "the null investment" by the EPSAR (Public Entity for Wastewater Sanitation). Thus, he recalled, in the last ten years the City Council, through its citizens, has paid EPSAR more than 50 million euros, when the cost of operating and maintaining the Benidorm Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and its network has been 38 million euros, which leaves a favourable balance of 12 million euros for the regional body.
Despite this balance, the EPSAR "has only invested 120,000 euros of the 3.5 million euros committed in the agreement signed with the City Council in 2017"; while the local administration has invested more than 5 million in the WWTP facilities and network in the last decade to ensure its correct operation.
Hence, given the lack of investment from EPSAR, the plenary session approved unanimously at the end of 2020, requesting the modification of the current legislation regarding the financing of treatment facilities and the management of the Sanitation Canon so that the local entities can manage these resources, making the necessary investments in hydraulic infrastructures, which are critical and vital.
Once his intervention before the Chamber was finished, the mayor has responded to all the questions raised by the different parliamentary groups of Les Corts.
In addition to Benidorm, representatives of the City Councils of Elche, Villena, Oliva and Silla have also appeared today in this Commission.