The National Federation of Irrigators Communities (Fenacore) considers that the use of reclaimed and desalinated water should only be a complement to ordinary surface water or groundwater to guarantee food in the future. Its president, Andrés del Campo, said today before the entry into force of the "National Plan for Wastewater treatment, Sanitation, Efficiency, Savings and Reuse (DSEAR Plan)".
In this sense, Fenacore considers that meeting growing food needs requires an increase in the water available for irrigation. And in the face of scarcity, which worsens in drought periods, it is essential to look for alternative and complementary resources to conventional ones.
Within this framework, irrigators maintain that wastewater treatment and its subsequent reuse offers a supply guarantee much higher than conventional sources, and they point out that this reuse must attend to factors related to quality, costs, heights and concessions.
FENACORE participation in projects such as SUWANU EUROPE proofs the defense for water reuse for agricultural irrigation. This project lasted two and a half years and its objective was to generate knowledge in this issue. However, irrigators think that European regulations on water reuse will complicate the export of agri-food products.
Specifically, if the European regulation requires qualities 10 times higher, Fenacore explains that problem does not lie in requirement of higher quality at the treatment plant outlet, but in maintaining it throughout the irrigation distribution network (canals, pools ...). And from its point of view, any health crisis or attempt to "lower the parameters" can create a marketing problem in all food products that are exported; since, although the European Union wants to "normalize" the use of these waters, society is still very reluctant to buy and eat food products irrigated with reclaimed water.
"Pollutes pays principle"
In this context, the Federation does not understand that, being Spain the country in Europe with the highest volume of water reused (350-400 million of m3), it has to legislate through the European regulation, when the Spanish regulation has been operating for more than 12 years.
In any case, irrigators defend the "polluter pays principle” in order to wastewater treatment expenses are beared by user who produces wastewater.