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Association against the construction of a dam on the River Eliches
Birth: 2008
Location: Los Villares (Jaen)
Stands out for: their ardent fight against public administration

Save the Canyons Association

“Jaen brands itself as an inland paradise, and now they are going to destroy yet another paradisiacal spot”. Uncontrolled construction is once again putting at risk areas of natural beauty such as the Canyons of the River Eliche. Plans include building a dam to stop flooding in the area.

By: Laura Gris

“The Archaeology Department at the School of Doctors and Graduates in Philosophy, Language and Sciences of Granada, Jaen and Almeria has joined the campaign to defend the Canyons of the River Eliche in the fight to defend the heritage and nature of this beautiful setting. We are calling for the people responsible to cancel their plans to build the dam”.

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Manuel Molinos is just one of hundreds of voices crying out in support of the Save the Canyons Association. Several universities and institutions, both local and international, have spoken against the construction of a dam in the River Eliche on its way through Los Villares in Jaen. The objective of the dam is to stop flooding of the river in the area around the Puente de la Sierra, the point at which it meets the River Quiebrajano. In 1996, the Quiebrajano caused serious damage and caused the death of a woman.

The Association was created in 2008 when a project was published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE), Spanish for Official Bulletin of the State, by the Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir (Hydrographical Confederation of the Guadalquivir), which announced the construction of the dam. According to Manuel Molinos, spokes person for the Save the Canyons “it is only a partial solution and will have a huge negative impact on the environment and local culture. The problem is not river flooding due to rain, but the suicidal constructions that have been permitted within the area of the embankment of the river.

Save the Canyons is made up of several groups including: ‘Mujeres P´alante’, Club de Montaña de Los Villares, Ecologistas en Acción, la Sociedad Española de Ornitología, la Asociación de Guías Locales, Amigos de los Iberos, la Plataforma Ciudadana Jabalcuz, vecinos de Los Villares and all the local political parties. The association defends tooth and nail the belief that “the dam is a useless solution. What they should be doing is knocking down the illegal houses in the area around los Puentes and relocating these properties”, explains Molinos. According to him, these properties are built contrary to planning laws since both sides of the river are “public property”. He argues that this is a crime. “Historically this is a flood zone. It is risky to live there”, concludes Molinos.

In 1998 UNESCO declared the cave paintings located along the Mediterranean coastline of the Iberian Peninsula a World Heritage site. The canyons contain more than 16 areas filled with these paintings. For this reason the association believes that the area is under the jurisdiction of the Law of Patrimony. In their allegations they also specify that “the area contains several species in danger of extinction and birds such as Bonelli Eagles and Eurasian Eagle-owls.

Save the Canyons believes that there are alternative solutions to constructing a dam. “Since they have allowed thousands of families to put their lives at risk by building in the area, the best solution would be relocation… The Junta should be more sensitive to the environment,” highlights Molinos. “Jaen brands itself as an inland paradise and they are planning to destroy it”.

The project is very much in the air, according to sources from the Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir. There have been many objections presented to the public administration. For now there has been no conclusion, and they stated a preference for not making a public statement about this contentious project.

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El 8 February 2009 a las 11:59 PM, pepe dijo...

Estimada señora, por que tanto revuelo, por que no han luchado antes no por esta laminación si no por salvar el río, conoce usted el estado de contaminación por pesticidas y otras mierdas generadas en Los Villares? sabe usted que debido a los olivares de este pueblo se forman escorrentías que arrastran venenos y despojos agrícolas al río?
Esfuercense tambien en solucionar este problema o es que esto no importa?

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El 3 August 2009 a las 9:18 PM, Juan dijo...

No creais a esta señora, están luchando no por salvar los Cañones si no por intereses económicos, se les expropian unos terrenos donde pretendían construir un parador rural.
Que salven el río que lo tienen contaminado y muerto por los desechos que arrojan y pesticidads del olivar.

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El 13 April 2010 a las 5:16 PM, VICTOR HUGO dijo...

No hay mayor plaga, pesticida y veneno que el hombre. Es su acción la que empobrece, perturba y aniquila la naturaleza. Es nuestro interés propio lo que nos hace destruir el planeta. Se empieza por un río y se termina con todo lo verde. Yo me he bañado en los cañones y he paseado en la niñez por lo que ahora es la huella de la dejadez y la pobredumbre humana. Espero, haga lo que se haga, no dañen el entorno. Un saludo.

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