The Leaders analyse Spanish water policy with representatives of the Directorate General for Water
The first meeting of the Leaders Programme 2018 took place at the Ministry for Ecological Transition. There, a delegation spearheaded by the Director General for Water, Manuel Menéndez, welcomed the Leaders and showed them how the Spanish Government manages the country’s water resources.
Manuel Menéndez welcomed the Leaders and emphasised that “Spain and India have a similar situation regarding water. India is a lot bigger and a lot more populated,” but the issues are essentially the same.
Eduardo Orteu, Head of the Support Unit to the Directorate General for Water, began by outlining the main challenges posed by the management of this natural resource, “not only for Spain but for many countries around the world, including India.” Scarce resources, floods and climate change are the main issues faced by Spain, as well as the obligation to comply with European Union directives.
A common feature for Spain and India is the need to balance the measures taken by central government and regional authorities. The Leaders were particularly interested in basin management in Spain (inter-regional basins fall under the central government) and the distribution of competencies between central government, regional governments and local corporations, as well as the coordination of surface and underground water management along with non-conventional water sources in order to optimise their use.
Carlos Escartín, who boasts extensive water management experience, gave an overview of the current situation of water management in Spain, “the world’s first country to create bodies for river basin management.” Spain is also a world leader in desalination, both in terms of installed capacity and building capacity and a European leader in water reuse with 30% of the EU’s total volume.
Eduardo Orteu stated that all those systems “have been provided by Spanish companies, and that is really important. We rely on those companies to carry out all these tasks.” The representative of the Directorate General for Water Management pointed out that the Leaders would get to meet some of the companies in charge of the aforementioned projects.
International agreements for shared basin management, agricultural regulation and cooperation with other countries were some of the issues the Leaders enquired about.