Garcia Salazar: "If the President does not respond, it can be interpreted as a no to Portezuelo"

He speaks cautiously because he knows the board he is moving on; a grid that at this point has several pieces to consider. On the one hand, it is Portezuelo. But on the other there is a series of 12 projects who is evaluating the Water and Sanitation Commission of the Economic, Environmental and Social Council of Mendoza (CEAS), which he himself chairs. The rumor is that if the mega-dam does not come out, the focus will be on the alternative plan of the CEAS.

-What happens if Fernández does not answer and there is no award?

-You could insist on prompt delivery. If the president still does not respond, we will have to see what the legal opinion is. I believe that since there is no express yes, that silence would be taken as a no. And if the presidency does not answer, the bidding for Portezuelo it is going to fall, because something cannot be awarded that opens the door to legal challenges. same, with or without Portezuelo, we’re going to need a master plan that foresees the works of the next 20 years in the province.

-One imagines that after the experience with La Pampa, that master plan should take into account what other provinces think about the works that are proposed…

-What you have to see first is the need that Mendoza has and then analyze how we adapt that. Some projects require agreements with other provinces, mainly those involving interprovincial rivers. Others don’t. A priori I would tell you that you have to make a plan, regardless of the opinion of other provinces, because most of the projects that are under evaluation do not involve them.

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Tadeo García Salazar together with Cornejo, who signed an agreement with Macri that -in the fine print- would allow Mendoza to allocate Portezuelo’s dollars to other works.

Portezuelo of the wind and the dollars

Days ago, a note from Natalia Sosa Abagianos Alfredo Cornejo’s spirit stood out when signing with Mauricio Macri the agreement granting the funds to Mendoza in compensation for the losses caused by the industry promotion -money that went to Portezuelo-, the then governor managed to insert a paragraph that allows to dispose of the money “for other water works”.

That means that if the idea of ​​building the hydroelectric mega-dam falls through, those dollars can be used for other things. That’s when Garcia Salazar be cautious again.

-If Portezuelo falls, is it confirmed that those 1,023 million dollars would go to that master plan that you mention?

No, that is not defined. On the one hand, because the Portezuelo; and on the other because the master plan is not ready yet. What the CEAS has are 12 projects related to water and sanitation. Some are hydroelectric dams and some are not. The Water and Sanitation commission (note of the r.: which he chairs) listened to the authors of these proposals and verified that they have different degrees of development: some are just ideas and others are ready to be put out to tender.

-What would be the way for this master plan to materialize?

-From the commission we will take our motion to the CEAS plenary. That motion will say that we need to plan the works for the next 20 years listening to the needs of the oases and involving improvements in crops, human consumption and sanitation, that is, the sewers. For that we have to calculate our population and economic growth, plus the influence of climate change. Let’s not forget that a decade ago we came with water emergency.

Tadeo García Salazar and Rodolfo Suarez.jpg

García Salazar, who is president of the Mendoza UCR, says that the motion related to the master plan will be sent to Governor Suarez this year.

García Salazar, who is president of the Mendoza UCR, says that the motion related to the master plan will be sent to Governor Suarez this year.

Tadeo He says that once the CEAS presents the plan to Suarez, he will select among the institutions that have submitted projects to see which ones are executed. “Some are immediate and others are not,” he clarifies.. “And those that have to do with ‘clean energy’ – in Godoy Cruz we are seeing it with solar panels in the foothills – are very fast to apply. They are installed quickly and start working.”

-What percentage of the works of the master plan would be able to start quickly?

I would tell you half. But Aysam and Irrigation could also add their own projects. Irrigation, for example, has one for $230 million. Aysam has another one that is around 1 billion. The idea is that the plan synthesizes all that. Another aspect is that of consumption: among the ideas is adding micrometering, that is, that the water is charged per liter and not as it is today, in relation to the surface of the land.

-You sound like a possible candidate for governor. Would you be excited to start a management with all those available dollars?

-My grandmother used to say that you don’t have to spend on account, so as long as I continue to have my position as mayor, I feel that it’s not up to me to give an opinion on that. I neither see myself nor stop seeing myself as governor. Much remains to be said about that. There are too many hypotheses that depend on probabilities.

“Potrerillos has 10 years of useful life left”

Even though the master plan that could take over from Portezuelo will contemplate works for the next 20 years, Garcia Salazar repeats that there are solutions that call for urgent action. “I’ll give you a piece of information: Mendoza consumes 50% more water per capita than what is recommended by the United Nations. That has to be addressed,” he illustrates.

The environmental processes that are coming are already beginning to be felt in the climate, in the rains, in the challenges facing the energy system. And on this point there is also controversy, because for some -such as former Justicialist governor Rodolfo Gabrielli- the paradigm of large dams is already part of the past.

“I would not dare to say something like that. You have to consult the specialists. The idea of ​​building a dam in Uspallata, for example, has the dual purpose of generating energy and storing water. Let us not forget that Potrerillos, for many of its functions, only has 10 years of useful life left.. So these types of definitions have to do with engineering and planning,” the interviewee replies.

There is only one week left to find out if President Fernández will laud in favor or against the “work of the century”. The third option would be that, following some Taoist arcana, he simply decides not to issue a verdict, not to act. What is undeniable is that time continues to pass, slowly and steadily, tilting the weight towards one of those possible worlds. Like in an hourglass.

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