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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Danger: Itoitz reservoir full!

The most controversial Itoitz reservoir in Navarre has become full for the first time in history in spite of all the opposition of so many years.

The dam is built on clay rock that is highly unstable, specially when permeated with water, and that has sparked fears that a catastrophe could happen. Some scientists have suggested that, in case of collapse, the wave could reach as far downstream as Zaragoza, killing many people and causing widespread destruction.

In the last years, as the reservoir was only partly filled, many unusual earth tremors have shattered the area. The authorities shield themselves in the fact that the Pyrenees (like most of Southern Europe) is a seismically active area but the frequency of the tremors has been many many times the usual since the dam was finished and began to be filled.

That and the issue that he reservoir overlaps a protected area have get judges to forbid its full fill until now. But the wait is over and the dreaded scenario of a full Itoitz reservoir that spells death danger for the villages and cities downstream is already here with the spring rains. Sadly enough, we now just have to wait for the predictions to become true.

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