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Water hotspots

A plan to alleviate persistent drought problems along Spain's parched southern coast has sparked controversy.

Tens of thousands protested in 2002 against the Government's 4.2 billion euro proposal to channel water from the River Ebro to provide much needed supplies for tourism and agriculture in Valencia, Almeria and Murcia.

As well as creating conflict between regions, the plan has drawn criticism from environmentalists. They say the Ebro's levels are already dropping, loss of silt would damage wetlands at the river's mouth, and the country should be trying to conserve water rather than undertaking large infrastructural projects anyway.

The argument over the idea has raged for 15 years and continues despite alterations to the plan to reduce its environmental impact.


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