Zaragoza withstands the rising of the Ebro despite the great flow of the flood | Spain

Zaragoza was threatened this Tuesday afternoon by a flood of the Ebro that, according to all predictions, put the residents of the Aragonese capital at risk. Meanwhile, the citizens whom the authorities considered in suspense due to the meteorological episode, contemplated an enraged river with the tranquility of one who delights in looking at an attraction. Dozens of people crowded together on the bridges – and recorded with their mobile phones – the virulence of the riverbed while they followed their own memory indicators: “Look, in 2015 the water reached more or less that line,” a father pointed out to his son while thousands cubic meters forcefully crossed the arches of the Santiago bridge. The eyes of the Piedra bridge and that of Santiago began to be covered with water, but the Ebro could not with any of the infrastructures.

The predictions were correct by marking the arrival time of the waterspout, starting at 4.15 pm, but they did not do so with the flow and force that they had expected days ago. The Ebro Hydrographic Confederation (CHE) warned yesterday morning that the flow would not reach the levels of the 2015 flood as it passed through Zaragoza. Then the river reached 2,448 cubic meters per second and the height of the flow was 6.10 meters in the Aragonese capital. This Tuesday, the flow barely exceeded 2,200 cubic meters and the height was 5.8 meters.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, talks with a neighbor from Buñuel (Navarra), during a visit to the affected town this Tuesday.
The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, talks with a neighbor from Buñuel (Navarra), during a visit to the affected town this Tuesday.EDUARDO SANZ-EUROPA PRESS (Europa Press)

Although the waterspout was much less intense than expected, the mayor of Zaragoza, Jorge Azcón, asked citizens not to approach the riverbed because, he assured, “the Ebro is unpredictable.” Azcón vindicated the role of municipal services by creating barriers especially on Z-30: one of the road belts that surround the city. “The important thing is to document what happens in the floods. There were in 2018, 2015, 2003 … and we know what happens in this city. Before the flood arrived, we notified the Government of Aragon to close the Jerónimo Zurita school, which is always flooded. In the city the river is channeled, but there are damages in outer neighborhoods such as Alfocea or Monzalbarba, where we have reinforced dams and specks. We are prepared, ”said the mayor.

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, did not visit the Aragonese capital on Tuesday, but he did visit Pradilla de Ebro, in the Ribera Alta region, where the motes and dams managed – just by a few centimeters – that the water did not reach the houses. Pradilla de Ebro (540 inhabitants) has already suffered in the past the fury of the river flooding the houses. It is not the first time that Sánchez visits this small municipality. He did so in 2015 when he was the head of the opposition and the flood gained access to several homes. This Tuesday, the presence of the Chief Executive in this municipality of emptied Spain was a real party for the residents, happy because the water has not caused havoc and for the visit. “Look at him, he’s the one with the jacket, what an illusion to see him,” a neighbor shouted at Sánchez, who smiled and let himself be loved in the middle of a speck, with the river water a few feet away. The president insisted on transmitting a message of solidarity and repeated that the Council of Ministers will approve on Friday the declaration of a catastrophic zone for all the towns that have suffered the floods.

The President of Aragon, Javier Lambán, received the head of government and highlighted the investments made in the river since Pedro Sánchez arrived in La Moncloa. Lambán recalled his visit in 2015. “Then there was a manifest lack of coordination between the administrations and a manifest neglect,” he lamented, recalling the Executive of Rajoy. The Aragonese president said that since Sánchez is president there has been coordination and investments in cleaning, recording, and vegetation. “Without these investments, today we would be talking about considerable catastrophes. I know that I have the commitment of the Government of Spain to continue acting in the river, “concluded Lambán.

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In Pradilla, the height of the Ebro was 8.15 meters this Tuesday. After visiting this town in the Ribera Alta, the head of the Government traveled to the affected municipalities of Buñuel (Navarra) and Alfaro (La Rioja). Meanwhile, in Zaragoza they continued during the night of this Tuesday in an emergency situation because the unpredictable Ebro could overflow at any time.

PP and PSOE again accuse each other about the bad management of the river

“President Sánchez, I am Ramón Celma, president of the PP in Zaragoza. I have brought you these boots because it is very good to come with a retinue but you have to get muddy boots on them. Here what you have to do is invest and clean the river ”. In this way, the leader of the PP in Zaragoza was presented to the head of government during his visit in Pradilla de Ebro this Tuesday. He handed him a pair of shoes, which Sánchez accepted, and once again brought to light the controversy about whether the floods are aggravated by the cleaning or not of the rivers and the responsibility of the administrations.
When consulted Antonio Embid, professor of administrative law at the University of Zaragoza, on whether the cleaning of the channels aggravates these floods, he argues: “The problem is not the cleaning or the movement of gravel. The problem is urban, agricultural and residential uses that have literally eaten up the river and impede its natural expansion ”. “The big drawbacks are the processes of appropriation of the hydraulic public domain. Floods have always been and that is why there were so-called flood plains. Now there are farms, fields, homes for the elderly … in these spaces “, laments the expert.
Meanwhile, PP and PSOE continued this Tuesday accusing each other of mismanagement of the river.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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