• "NO TO THE P.I.D.E."
    "Integral Proctection Plan for the Delta"

    by the "Plataforma en Defensa del Ebre"


We, the Platform for the Defence of the river Ebro, are campaigning against the most unsustainable aspects of the Spanish government's current Hydrological Plan, especially the huge transference of water from the river Ebro to other parts of Spain. We believe that this Plan would have a very serious impact on the Ebro Delta and to this end we have presented a Petition to the European Parliament and a Complaint to the Commission explaining what these effects would be. Given that the Spanish government claims that the creation of the Integral Plan for the Protection of the Delta ( or PIDE as it is usually known) in an amendment to the Hydrological Plan will conserve the Delta, we would like to offer our view point on this. We believe that the claims that this organisation is running and showing results are not true and that the people of these lands have seen this for what it really is, an excuse to transfer the water by offering a few financial compensations. We will try and explain what is the PIDE and why the people really affected by the Hydrological Plan (NHP) have refused to participate in it.

The PIDE is formed of a maximum of 41 members who are supposed to represent all the parts concerned with the Delta. However, the Executive Committee is the body with decision-making powers and only consists of 10 members designated by the Spanish government (PP) and the Catalan government (CiU). The other members meet only twice a year and can make no decisions, only participate in debates. The only town halls which have decided to form a part of the PIDE are the ones run by the political party CiU. This means that 4 of the 7 towns of the Delta have not joined. Of all the Ebro area, 60% of the population (by town hall) have decided not to join. Even this statistic would change if we looked at towns directly implicated in the Delta, rather than taking into account towns up to 60 km away, but coincidentally run by CiU. 65 % of the population of the Baix Ebre and Montsia, areas actually in or beside the Delta, have not joined. The chief unions and environmental groups have refused to take part either, as have rice cooperatives (the chief crop in the Delta) representing 69% of the production. The only member of a rice cooperative who will take part in the PIDE, is not participating in the name of his cooperative but as one of the members nominated by the Catalan government. The same case has occurred with the leader of one of the Canal Irrigation Communities, who is acting as a delegate of the central government rather than in the name of the community.

Why the P.I.D.E. ?

The PIDE was formed as an amendment to the NHP to explain the Catalan government's change of heart when on 25/4/01 they voted in favour of the PHN in Madrid after voting against in the Catalan autonomous Parliament on 8/3/01, and hence not respecting the decision of their own Parliament. However, this amendment forms a part of the NHP and has as its objective "the creation of an Integral Plan for the Delta … with the corresponding revision and modification of this Plan if this were necessary to comply with the NHP law". Hence, the PIDE is subsidiary to the NHP and the final word will always lie with the government members who form the Executive Committee. We, and the majority of people in this area, firmly believe that the investments to be received through the PIDE are mere compensations to make up for "selling" the Ebro's water and destroying the Delta as we know it now. Both the central and autonomous governments have done nothing to conserve the Delta since its most serious problems started to appear in the 1960s. It is only now, when they want to carry out the Ebro transference that they have "offered" this rescue plan. For this reason the majority of people and organisations in this area have refused to participate in the PIDE until it is separated from the NHP.

The members of the PIDE were confirmed in April 2002, and on 19 June it was announced that they have five months to come up with the grand plan to save the Delta. This plan would then be open to public inspection for four months before its final approval, which takes us up to March 2003 before the plan could even be passed. Hence the claims that the PIDE is already functioning and offering results are not true. These dates already show the capacity of this body as, in the original NHP law, their plan of action had to be passed by July 6th 2002 ! Besides this, we also have strong doubts about the kind of action the PIDE proposes to take given that they talk about the river needing more regulation. The river is already regulated sufficiently and more modern proposals now should be surely to protect and restore what is left of the natural state of the river and its ecosystems, following EU Directives.

July 2002


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