Turre will vote this evening to hand the water management of the town over to Galasa. An open plenary session at 8pm to which all are invited.
This means that the town will stop handling its own water affairs and turn the whole thing over, lock stock and barrel, to Galasa in a rather rushed deal that fails to benefit the town in any way.
All meters will be changed for new ones (the town has to pay for that), and people will have to start paying Galasa tariffs directly.
The town also has to fix a number of water mains before Galasa will take the water on, and be responsible for leak damages over the next year. No capital investment is promised in the agreement, just the bare minimum of repairs to keep the system running, so the water problems that plague the outlying areas of town will continue.
It remains to be seen whether Agua Nueva will be included in the agreement. The agreement is for the urban centres of population, and Agua Nueva continues to be run outside of the council remit. There don’t seem to be any plans dissolve the local junta there and bring Agua Nueva into the town.
Cabrera is also left to fend for itself, as the agreement expressly excludes the area from the Galasa agreement in perpetuity. Given that the agreement means the council is relieved of its legal requirements to invest in the water network, the mountains and valleys above the town can go whistle.
Turre has a debt of over a million euros with Galasa, and has agreed a payment plan of €6,000 a month until it’s all paid off, more than it can really afford.
The water network in C/Aire has to be changed before Galasa accepts the deal, at an unspecified cost. No project plan has been promoted.
The whole thing is a bit of political “I’ve got you over a barrel” for the town, which is being forced into an unrealistic debt repayment plan and basically gets nothing in return other than vague promises. But the provincial council (Diputacíon) is desperate to get the Turre problem sorted for Galasa, which is a bankrupt public company.
There has been no attempt to negotiate any capital investment to improve the water supply, and the council has waived its rights to continue capping prices for water, meaning we’re likely to see hefty price raises later this year if the whispered Galasa reorganisation goes ahead.
It also rather goes back on Mayor Martin’s promise to hold a referendum before doing this, or at least consult the people..
Alternate plans by which the town buys water from Codeur – a much better quality of actual drinking water instead of the over-priced crud from Galasa – have been torpedoed without looking too closely at them.
I’m also told that since the council employs people for the water network, and can’t fire them because Arturo made them fixed, they’ll have to find bunny work for them elsewhere without saving on the employment side.
No real attempt has ever been made to run the water system properly in the town, and it’s gone to rack and ruin.
I’ve always been a proponent of following the Vera system – set up an independent organisation from the council to run the water in the town. Source your own water from the hills whilst buying any additional water you need from the cheapest source (Galasa, Codeur and Acuamed are all nearby), make sure the profits are ring-fenced and re-invest them into capital infrastructure improvements. Within a decade you’d have fresh drinking water and a new pipe system for the town, whilst providing employment.
Galasa has over 22 million in debt, far exceeding state debt-to-asset rules for public companies. It’s quietly being wound up in the background (it was legally required to be dissolved last year according to state laws but nobody seems to angry about this) and will be replaced by a new public company, which likewise will be run into the ground by our magnificent local public administrators.
In short. the council removes a headache they don’t know how to deal with, the Diputación gets what they want, and the residents get shafted yet again.
The real problem is that the town is bankrupt and has been using the money from the water system to pay salaries. So no investment has been made in the system, and only about 60% of the water it buys from Galasa is ever sold on. The rest is lost through leaks and illegal taps into the system. And Galasa hasn’t been paid for years.
But there’s no need to lock the council into a €6,000 a month repayment scheme – the debt is recognised so the town should be paying whatever it can afford every month, not a set amount which, in some months, the town just doesn’t have. This repayment scheme is just going to make the bankruptcy situation worse. It’s all public money anyway, so nobody really cares – Galasa can’t cut off the water supply!
And there’s been no attempt to make people stealing the water pay for it, fix the main leaks or improve the general running of the water system.
So – it’s a short term, rushed bodge in my humble little opinion.