According to the World Register of Dams, in 2000 there were 1270 big dams in Spain (1240 in operation and 28 under construction). Thus, Spain is the European country with the highest number of dams. Worldwide, only USA, China and India have more dams than Spain.
On 18 May 2013, an announcement by the Ebro Water public Authority (named in Spanish "Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro" or CHE) regarding the construction of a new dam on the river Bergantes was published in the Official State Gazette.
The chosen location has high environmental and landscape values and it is protected by the European environmental legislation (Water Directive and Habitats Directive).
The Ebro Water Public Authority arguments in favour of the dam due to the lack of security of the Calanda water reservoir.
However, many citizen and environmental groups oppose this project, which according to them has lacked public participation.
The main opposing group, the plataform “El Bergantes no se toca” offers the following reasons to oppose the project: -Because it is an environmental disaster.
The consequences on the river, its vegetation, animals and life (which are protected by EU legislation) will be irreversible.
-Because it is an economic disaster.
The construction of the dam would imply the expropriation of several small-farms and many hectars of the so-called dual-use areas: both for agriculture and for livestock waste disposal. On the other hand, this dam would have a very negative effect on rural houses and other small bussiness in the locality, as the river, its vegetation, the water quality, and the landscape are some of the main incentives for people who come to visit the area.
-Because it is a social disaster.
The river Bergantes is an identity symbol of the town of Aguaviva, its people and its visitors since ancient times. In fact, the name Aguaviva means "living water". The damage that the construction of the dam would cause to the river Bergantes, its landscape, its environment and its population would be irreversible. For the Bergantes inhabitants, the river is not just a river, it's part of their life. There are many memories and experiences related to the river. It is almost a way of life.
-Because there are alternatives (see below).