Currently, the water of Turre is an undrinkable mess, and it’s been this way for years, as no spending on infrastructure has been carried out for years now.
Turre is split into three water service areas: the centre village, which gets Galasa water, and then both ends: Agua Nueva and the area around the cemetery. They get water from the wells in the mountains.
Now, the reservoirs and the pipes in the village are in a pretty dire state, some of them in the older parts of the village being over 50 years old. Most of the infrastructure hasn’t been touched since it was first laid. The fountain water comes from a separate spring – I personally won’t touch the stuff, it’s not analysed and the treatment basically consists of someone throwing chlorine into the reservoir when they remember to.
Is the water in the town potable? Probably not, but we don’t know for certain, because nobody is analysing the stuff.
The water is tested at source and the well stuff has been condemned by the Ministry of Health because of dangerously high mineral contents that aren’t being filtered out, because the filters are broken and nobody wants to fix them.
The Galasa stuff is potable (we assume) when it arrives, but nobody runs any tests from taps throughout the town (I understand they should, but who’s going to force a townhall?). So we don’t know what it’s picking up as it goes through the ancient lead pipes.
Arturo has announced that all water will in future come from Galasa, and he’ll decommission the wells.
This isn’t as great a deal as it sounds, as it doesn’t solve the old pipes problem, and the water we’re getting from Galasa is pretty mucky stuff – it’s more the stuff from the Negratín dam and not the desalinated water.
However, in exchange for upping the amount the town buys, the price per m3 for the village drops from 0.95€ to 0.70€. It then has to pay a fixed connection cost and sewage costs. Arturo points out that until he upped the water price when he last came to office, the town was selling the water for less than 0.95€, whereas now at least there’s a small margin.
Turre is the most indebted village in the area, it’s public debt is almost €2000 per person. So the townhall isn’t going to be spending a lot on this.
I ran the numbers, kindly supplied by a mole in the townhall and Arturo himself.
The townhall last year invoiced (Arturo points out a lot of people can’t / won’t pay their bills and these have to go to executive debt chasing through the Diputación) some 261551.73€.
The cost to buy all this water from Galasa would be 110620.71€ (including the sewage cost but excluding the fixed costs which is about 185€ a month).
Which means Arturo will get about 150,000€ a year for the townhall coffers from the new water deal. In exchange for going over to Galasa and signing away the towns water rights – properly managed, this town should be water independent, with access to good clear water from the mountains around us, for less money than it costs to buy the stuff from Galasa, especially if / when the price goes up next year.
But years of allowing things to fall apart means we’re being politically pushed into Galasa, a company that owes more than 20 million euros, mainly due to the high salaries paid. It is owned by the politicians (and run by the same party as Arturo).
Make no mistake: the bad water in Turre is due to decades of mismanagement by all political parties in the townhall. The main problem stems from an abortive attempt to go over to Galasa in the early 90’s – the switchover was a fiasco (Galasa then had much worse water, and Turre much better) and eventually the town was pulled out. Badly. It never recovered.
Arturo’s end intention, I suspect, is fairly clear: he will buy the water from Galasa, and in time, slowly switch the billing over the Galasa and eventually the whole town will be subsumed by the main utility company.
Don’t cheer yet : a 50% raise in the cost of Galasa water is expected after the next elections. Meanwhile, we still don’t have any proper water management or sewage facilities here in the area, and we continue to mix pure desalinated water with the mucky stuff from the bottom of the dams.
Depressing, isn’t it?
The image at the top of the page, by the way, comes from some mad idea to build fresh water skyscrapers in Almería province.