THE buildup of bamboo canes and undergrowth in riverbeds and under bridges throughout the Valencian Community is usually the main culprit of the heavy floods that regularly swamp towns and cities throughout the region.

Part of the blame, at least in Valencia’s La Safor district, falls at the feet of the river management consortiums.

The Jucar Hydrographic Confederation (CHJ) has for many years clamped down very strictly on anyone who removes the canes, with fines for everyone including farmers and council workers.

But things have changed lately, and growing numbers of town halls and members of the public in La Safor are taking steps to protect rivers by clearing up the mess.

The river Serpis passing through Gandia
The river Serpis passing through Gandia

Benifairo and Simat de la Valldigna have launched a joint scheme to clean up the Vaca river, which includes fitting tarpaulins to speed up the decomposition process of invasive plant species.

An identical programme has been carried out by Villalonga council on the Serpis river, with Palma de Gandia, Potries, Benifla and Beniarjo announcing similar plans.

This has all been made possible thanks to a change of heart on behalf of the CHJ, who are now speeding up and simplifying the process to obtain authorisation to clear the riverbeds.

As well as reducing the risk of flooding, the proper maintenance of rivers also helps to keep them clean and tidy for residents to use as picnic and swimming spots, as opposed to turning them into illegal dumping grounds as has been the case for too long.

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