UNIONS representing 50,000 of the nation’s farmers met last Friday with Mireia Mollá, the Regional Minister of Agriculture to accuse the organisation managing the Segura river basin of ‘criminal negligence’.
Representatives from groups The Water Courts, Irrigation Communities and Irrigation Unions of Vega Baja demanded the immediate removal of those responsible in the Segura Hydrographic Federation (CHS).
Vega Baja farmers involved collectively lost ‘thousands of hectares’ of land that grew potatoes, artichokes and many other foods that sell around the world.
The meeting at the Almoradi Water Court saw the union representatives call for legal action on the grounds of ‘fraudulent liability in omission’.
The groups claim action should have been taken following a 2016 report concerning the ‘deterioration and abandonment’ of the Segura river channel, where flood defences were neglected and storm drains blocked.
The report demanded the adoption of ‘urgent measures for its repair’, which have not been undertaken.
The same report mentioned ‘water leaks by the joints of Algorfa Bridge’ in a list of seven affected points.
Algorfa and surrounding areas ended up being one of the worst hit municipalities by when this same bridge broke on Friday, September 13, affecting thousands downstream in Almoradí and Dolores where hundreds of families were evacuated.
“The CHS paid no attention, and now we see the consequences,” the union representatives claimed.
One farmer, who asked not to be named, told the Olive Press his 30ha harvest of alfalfa was ‘completely destroyed’ by the floods.
“I have no insurance, I’ve lost everything.
“I took out insurance against common plagues, but none of us expected such catastrophic floods to happen.”
It is believed that the complaint of criminal negligence has now been transferred to the full Counsell.