High in the mountains, to the untrained eye, the reservoirs appeared to be nearly full though down on the plains farmers were becoming increasingly concerned; the lack of rainfall and the rising temperatures did not bode well. These were the early days of
Driving thousands of kilometres through this dry and dusty landscape, between the coast and mountains; stretching from
The contrast between the care free tourism on the Costa’s and the agricultural workers inland struggle was quite marked. Parched soils were difficult to work, the crops, grass and woodlands tinder dry. Water restrictions were being brought forward in an effort to conserve the continuity of supplies. The summer temperature soared to record levels and with no prospect of rain till autumn all that remained was to watch and hope.
Autumn came and went without significant rainfall in turn followed by yet another dry winter. The land was suffering and crops were threatened; and when in the following spring the long overdue rains did not materialise there was a growing sense of crisis.
Water tensions arose between regions who accused each other of wasting a national resource. Claimed efficiency in local methods of watering crops were contrasted more profligate methods in other regional Autonomies of the Spanish domain. The people of
Then disaster struck, nightly reports of fires consuming huge tracts of land estimated at up to 300,000 acres. Families and whole communities destroyed by the all consuming flames, 11 rescue workers dying in their particular battle against the raging inferno.
A disaster that was compounded by the carelessness and sometimes the criminality of people. Barbeques were held in high fire risk zones, despite participants having to scale barriers signposted with the fire warnings. In other cases blazes were started deliberately.