“I will not send a single drop of water from the Ebro”, said Pasquall Maragall, before November´s Catalan elections. Now, Mr Maragall hopes to “paralyse” the Spanish government´s plan to move water from north to south.
The government has condemned Mr Maragall´s stance* as “unpatriotic”. Last month the Spanish government formally requested European Union finance to meet a third of the E15,000m cost of the whole project. It claimed a victory when the European Commission conditionally approved E80m to pay for a part of it. Mr Aznar has called the plan “an act of solidarity” between Spain´s regions.
The water balance between the wet north, where a third of Spain´s rain falls, and the dry south, where 60% of the land is semi-arid, continues to inflame passions. Critics say the entire plan is outmoded and designed to benefit the government´s business friends. They claim it will cost twice as much to transport the water as it would to produce more water through desalination. Greens say it will destroy the Ebro delta wetlands. The government of Aragon supports the Catalans, calling the project a “method to rob the poor to feed the rich”.
*Glossary: stance = postura
Find a synonym in the text for each of the words below.
- a) demanded:
- b) obsolete:
- c) devastate:
- d) backs: