Torrelodones is an area that invites you to live in it. It is close to the capital, just 20 minutes from Moncloa, and is surrounded by nature. But in recent months, it seems that its natural spaces are at risk of disappearing. First was the urbanization of the Las Marías area, with the construction of 240 homes, and now the Peñascales Dam. Last December 2022, the Ministry for Ecological Transition ordered the demolition of the Peñascales Reservoir dam, an area that belongs mostly to Torrelodones, except for a small part that belongs to Las Rozas.
According to sources from the local Socialist Party, “in that document a period of one month was opened for the City Council to make an appeal to allege what it deems appropriate”; However, it was “a procedure that the last Vecinos government team (for Torrelodones) never did,” they say. The current City Council of the town, a coalition between the PP and Vox, agrees with this and affirms that the government of Alfredo García Plata did not make any allegations regarding the decision to collapse the Dam.
What is now the area of Los Peñascales was owned by the Marquesa de Montealegre, who sold the land in the fifties and began to develop it. However, at that time there was no running water so the reservoir was built. The Tagus Hydrographic Confederation (CHT) indicates that in 1955 the right to exploit the Trofas Stream was granted for the supply of water for human consumption and the irrigation of almost six hectares of land. However, points out Víctor Ibáñez, general secretary of the PSOE in Torrelodones, the dam was never given the use it had by definition, since over the years the water reached the houses. This meant the lack of maintenance of the construction and, in 2013, the CHT notified the City Council, made up of Neighbors for Torrelodones (VxT), that either a solution to the problems was put in place or it would have to be demolished. “The state the dam was in was such that it posed security problems,” says Ibáñez.
The Peñascales Dam, in a file image. Europa press
The key to the expiration of the concession, which was made almost seven decades ago, lies in the lack of use, both for irrigation and for drinking water. Something that was communicated to the City Council and they gave it ten days to present the allegations they deemed appropriate. “The part of the team in charge of this informs us on December 15 of the Confederation’s decision and what we do is request a meeting with the Water Commissioner, who appoints us for January 16,” clarifies Alfredo García, former mayor of the town, in a telephone conversation. García states that he does not know why the PSOE indicates that it was not used for irrigation. “Of course it has been used for irrigation. Ask the City Council technicians or Urbaser (a company specialized in environmental management with activities focused on urban services, waste treatment and comprehensive water management) ”, he maintains.
However, according to PSOE sources, in December 2022, the CHT reported that it was going to open an expiration file of which the old Town Hall did not report and, therefore, everything followed the normal course to demolish the Dam. . On the other hand, the former mayor affirms that everything was available on the platform of the Consistory and that “all the parties, especially the current government, have always had at their disposal the information they needed” and makes the attitude of the Torrelodones executive ugly. “Nobody has called me or sat down to talk to the team and I think it’s the first thing they should have done.”
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What the general secretary of the PSOE and the former mayor of the town do agree on is that “what the CHT has done is comply with the law at all times, take all the steps that the current regulations on water and, In addition, it has left the door open to renew the granting of funds”.
The CHT’s own resolution opens the door to an option to maintain the Los Peñascales Reservoir. “The Confederation points out that all the facilities could be maintained if the City Council presents a use project and requests a new water concession,” says Ibáñez.
From the Torrelodones PSOE they are going to propose two possible alternatives to maintain the Los Peñascales Dam. On the one hand, they go to a new concession of the Dam for the maintenance of the biodiversity that has been created in the environment and for fire safety. “This Reservoir, although not regularly, has been used for helicopters to supply themselves with water when they have needed it,” insists the general secretary.
On the other hand, this Wednesday they have made a non-legal proposal in the Madrid Assembly so that the Arroyo de Trojas, which runs from Hoyo de Manzanares to El Pardo, be included as a Place of Community Interest in the Manzanares Basin. In this way, demolition could be halted and the concession could be renewed for environmental reasons. “The protection of this space would be armored and the water that is there could not be knocked down or removed,” Ibáñez asserts.
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