Last Friday, January 12, 2024, LIFE Garachico held a press conference at the Muelle Viejo de Garachico at 10:30 in the morning.
At this event, the Minister of Ecological Transition and Energy of the Government of the Canary Islands, Mariano H. Zapata, together with representatives of other project partners (José Heriberto González, mayor of the municipality of Garachico; Carla González, social anthropologist and researcher at the University of La Laguna; and Christine Bezic, environmentalist at GRAFCAN), presented the results of the first phase of the project, which aims to adapt coastal urban areas of Macaronesia to possible marine flooding, a consequence of climate change. All this through the adoption of a series of strategies that increase the resilience of these areas against extreme coastal events, current or future.
The counselor, Mariano H. Zapata, explained that this pilot project “aims at our preparation and adaptation to climate change in coastal areas of the archipelago, minimizing possible risks due to maritime storms in urbanized areas.” A study that, as he highlighted, “has begun in Garachico, but could be exported to other areas of the archipelago or regions with similar characteristics,” assured that “the rise in sea level globally will change the way we are going to live, so we have to be prepared, in the case of the Canary Islands, both to protect our population and the territory.”
“This project, which has been underway for two years, now continues with concrete actions, such as the implementation of the first early warning system in the Canary Islands and the adaptation of the municipality with small works that will help reduce the damage, current or future, caused by the waves,” said the counselor.
Likewise, Zapata thanked the study work carried out in Garachico and the collaboration of all those involved. “LIFE projects have great prestige and Garachico has been the perfect laboratory for its development. Both for its climatic conditions, and for the commitment of all the residents of the area, who are the first to suffer the consequences of the waves, and all the participating institutions, which are many, since the fight against climate change "It's everyone's business," said Zapata.
For his part, the mayor of Garachico, Heriberto González, declared that “Garachico is, without a doubt, one of the most vulnerable places in the Canary Islands with respect to maritime storms,” which is why he considered “it is essential to advance in security and, above all, in anticipation.” “We must be prepared for the effects of climate change on the tides and with this project we lay the foundations for this,” said the mayor.
In the case of the University of La Laguna, Carla González, social anthropologist and researcher at this entity explained the importance of the social dimension of the project, which “focuses on working with the residents of Garachico, who are the ones who suffer the most. the consequences of adverse coastal phenomena.” “This work is based on knowing the daily coexistence with such phenomena; raising the need to work in a coordinated manner between technicians, scientists, institutional leaders, business people and neighbors,” highlighted the researcher.
Along these lines, Christine Bezic, GRAFCAN environmentalist, highlighted the work carried out by the entity “to understand the current situation in Garachico and monitor the adaptation measures implemented”, placing special emphasis on the implementation of “a viewer at the that citizens can also access.” Thus, he explained that "GRAFCAN will continue working in this line and is now beginning its work to support the development of the Early Warning System, in addition to leading the feasibility study of the use of Artificial Intelligence in the monitoring of adverse coastal events."
A pioneering project that focuses on adaptation to climate change
The project now continues in 2024 focusing on validating the calibration of the early warning system for predicting flood events, drafting action protocols to respond to adverse meteorological phenomena and installing a series of measures to reduce the possible havoc caused by floods, such as the lowering of the road, the adaptation of the parking areas and the installation of anti-impact benches that reduce the energy and damage that the waves cause. In addition, we will work in coordination with the General Directorate of Security and Emergencies and the CECOES to reduce action and response times once there is a flood risk alert.
The LIFE Garachico project (LIFE20 CCA/ES/001641) was launched in 2021, with 55% co-financing from the LIFE program of the European Commission.
It is led by the Department of Ecological Transition and Energy of the Government of the Canary Islands and has the collaboration of ten other partners: the city council of Garachico, the city council of Puerto de la Cruz, the Cabildo of Tenerife, the EVM group, IH Cantabria, GRAFCAN , the National Civil Engineering Laboratory, Tragsa, the University of La Laguna and Elittoral.