News - Rio Gorgos

Alien parrots in Xàbia

It is said that more than twenty years ago a couple of Argentinian parrots escaped from captivity and nested in a pine grove near the River Gorgos. The birds have settled there and the population has since grown.

The authorities in Xàbia have started to try to control these alien birds by knocking down their large and heavy nests, which threaten to break the branches. They collected about 20 chicks from the nests and gave them to local bird fanciers for breeding in captivity, since this species is quite valuable among lovers of exotic birds. However the birds have started to make nests again and there are fears that they could displace the local turtledove. However in Xàbia the parrots are very restricted in their distribution since they like tall trees and humidity.

The Department of the Environment is now reconditioning the area (Pinets) and creating a natural recreation area. The recovery of this pine copse is part of an ambitious project to enhance the value of the Gorgos river bank and to make it an attractive place for walking and contact with nature. The Hydrographic Confederation, Xúquer is also rebuilding the river banks that were devastated in the floods of last October.

Original article in Levante June 2008

The Ministry of Environment pushes a plan to bring water to the fields of Alcalalí and Xalo (Jalón) without an environmental impact statement.

The Environment Ministry is promoting a project to end the scarcity of water resources for irrigation in Xalo and Alcalalí. To do so, it will use surplus flood water from the river Gorgos.

In the Gazette (BOE) released on June 4th, minister, Elena Espino, decided to go ahead with the scheme without the need for an environmental impact statement

The plan, promoted by the Sociedad Estatal de Infraestructuras Agrarias (Society of Agricultural Infrastructure), aims to "undertake the necessary infrastructure to take advantage of the surplus waters of the river Gorgos in times of floods, without affecting the natural conditions in the area," (according to the resolution). The environmental impact assessment was not carried out despite the fact that the river Gorgos is declared Place of EU Community Interest (LIC), as a shining example of riverbank vegetation associated with a seasonal Mediterranean river
The project will be developed in the municipality of Alcalalí and its beneficiaries will be the local irrigators and those of Xalo.

It consists, broadly, of building a weir in the river, from which a pipeline carries water by gravity to a reservoir on the left bank of the river bed. From there, another channel will pump water up to an existing water reservoir (1,500 cubic metres), which feeds the current drip irrigation in Alcalalí and Xalo.

The project has already been announced by various administrations (Diputación de Alacant, Xúquer), and was also sent to the municipalities of Alcalalí and Xalon (no reply yet) and organisations such as Cologan Apnal, Colla Ecologist d ' Alacant, SEO and Adena.

During this process of consultation, the Directorate General of water of the the Ministry of the Environment did not put any impediment to project implementation. Instead, it imposed some constraints. Among these are: limiting extraction to during periods of maximum river flow, which is 180,000 cubic metres a year, only exceeded it in situations of "extreme drought" as determined by the Conselleria.

Other conditions include the need to respect riverbank vegetation; previously executed archaeological works; and that "the design of infrastructure must ensure the maintenance of ecological flows to preserve the natural values of the LIC of the Riu Gorgos" And that water will be used "exclusively for irrigation in currently authorised irrigated plots."

The project aims to solve the recurring problems of the irrigators of Xalo / Alcalalí. The resolution states, " at present, the Irrigators have available for irrigating their 108 hectares of land, water from a well that fails to provide sufficient water and is out of service in the summer and during periods of drought. "

Original article in Levante June 4 2008

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