The traditional gardens of the River Segura are shrinking.
In 1998 there were 51,840 hectares of kitchen garden in the three fertile valleys. By 2004, in just six years, that had shrunk by 8,781 hectares and is set to shrink further. The new roads that will link Catral to Murcia, Guardamar to Orihuela and Orihuela to Torrevieja along with the AVE (high speed train) route will eat away further the land under cultivation.
The huerta has Arab roots dating back to the 8th Century. The system of drainage of the flood plains via a network of azarbes makes it unique in Europe. It provides great ecological, economic and cultural patrimony to the area. Let us hope that it doesn't eventually get covered completely by concrete and tarmac.