The drought in the Alicante region of Spain is the most serious since records began in 1893 and threatens ruin for many local fruit growers. The almond crop is badly affected and if drought continues trees will begin to die at the roots. The growth of urban areas means that the water priority in a year without rain has been to keep serving the needs of urban domestic water users. The vast increase in urban water use during the summer period when hotels are fully occupied will use up the remaining water stored in the Guadalest reservoir.
The other reservoir, the Amadorio, is already empty: the old road bridge from Orxeta to Vila is now clearly visible from the new road that passes around the banks of the man-made reservoir.
When the reservoir was full this old bridge was twenty metres under water.
I am fortunate that I still have a water supply for my small vegetable plot: the agricultural water for our little valley near Finestrat comes from the village waste water, so it is an endless supply, but only fit for the garden – not even for the donkeys to drink! They drink from my domestic water which is delivered in a tanker lorry every two months (62 Euros a time) and the four donkeys probably consume about a quarter of my domestic water.
Drought or no drought, the donkeys are very particular about their water and they would never drink the poor water that comes into the garden through the open channel. Their water buckets are topped up every morning and evening, but the water usually has to be changed and the buckets scrubbed out. If the water does not look absolutely clear, they will not drink it. All it needs is a few straws floating on the surface – dropped in by the donkeys themselves while drinking – and they will not touch the water!
At one time, as shown in an earlier blog post, it was the donkeys who did all the work of drawing up water from the wells, as they walked around in circles all day, turning the wheels of the norias. Now they life a very carefree life under parasols, eating and drinking, and I do all the donkey work to make this happen.
Does anyone know why Matilde keeps jumping on Rubí ? I do worry that these two are going to have an accident one of these days: Matilde is a very big heavy animal!
UPDATE SATURDAY MAY 31ST
Donkeys have been inside the stable all day, as it has been a day of continuous rain. The first rainy day since 2013! Thank God.