It has been three years since the devastating passage of the Gloria storm through the Ebro Delta and the effects of that damage are still evident. The violent storm breached the shoreline and inundated thousands of hectares of beaches and paddy fields with salt water, exposing a vast swath of land of high ecological value. The delta’s adaptability has allowed devastated stretches of coastline to be restored naturally, but there are coastlines that have been left raw and whose erosion cannot be stopped. To try to stop the waves and protect the morphology of the coast, the delta entrusts an emergency plan to mobilize 11 million cubic meters of sand.
“Since Gloria there has been no protection system and there is a consensus that a solution that is as natural as possible must be found,” explains Xavier Curto, spokesman for the Delta Consensus Table, an organization that brings together the seven Delta communities for his two irrigation communities. Curto points out that the majority of engineering studies agree that the preferred option is to articulate a defensive barrier that widens the beach to mitigate the energy of the waves. On this basis, the Generalitat has tendered works to mobilize 11 million cubic meters of sand. Specifically, the first step is to examine the land masses submerged by ocean currents off the coast of the delta to determine the quantity and quality of this sediment. Sand accumulation is mainly concentrated at the ends of the delta. That is, in El Fangar, in front of l’Ampolla, and in Punta de la Banya, in the extreme south, in front of La Ràpita.
The dredging of these sand wells is intended to fill in the areas given way by the sea. These are mainly the Marquesa and Riumar beaches, in Deltebre the Illa de Buda and the Barra del Trabucador. The entire intervention costs 60 million euros. Xavier Curto reckons it will be visible from 2025 and will then require maintenance. “The idea is to reclaim the land that the sea has eaten and preserve it,” he explains.
State of Barra del Trabucador in the Ebro Delta after the passage of the Filomena storm.EL PAÍS
At the end of January 2020, during the days of shock over the passage of the Gloria, the then President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, declared that an urgent response to the Ebro Delta was needed: “It can not wait any longer, an immediate plan of action,” he said . “Three years after the Gloria, there is still a lot to do,” Deltebre Mayor Lluís Soler recently stated.
Xavier Curto points out that the government has made a change in its approach with what he calls the Delta strategy. “The policy of the Generalitat in the Delta has always been to position itself as a plaintiff, claiming that it cannot do anything because the powers rest with the state.” Curto points out that this was a convenient but fictitious position: “From the table we’ve always said it’s not true because the Generalitat has environmental powers.”
What affects most is what happens closer. Subscribe so you don’t miss anything.
Climate Minister Teresa Jordà has expressed her interest in a good relationship with the Ministry of Ecological Transition in Parliament. “Almost no administration can take action to protect the delta without another administration being involved.” The sand movements proposed by the Generalitat concern the maritime-terrestrial area, a strip that falls under state jurisdiction. To this end, a State Commission was set up to coordinate work to protect the coastal strip.
All of this is happening as the communities of the delta are once again targeting upstream. The Council of Ministers has given the green light to the new hydrological plan for the Ebro Basin for the period 2023-2027. The framework document opens the door for the first time to the possibility of recovering part of the sediments stuck in the river embankments in the case of the Riba-roja reservoir. This is a historic claim by the Delta’s communities, who claim that the mud is essential to cement the mouthguard. How and when the mud can enter the lower reaches of the river is a question that only raises questions at this time.
Follow EL PAÍS Catalunya on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits