The heritage of the Haciendas de Argual y Tazacorte
Dating of the building: 16th century.
Applicant: Luis J. Martín Herrera (President of the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Santa Cruz de La Palma).
Reason for the award :
For the maintenance of a private water management system for more than five centuries and the current conservation and use of it for agriculture through a private organization.
Both the collection and distribution of water and the conservation of the ecosystem have been the two axes on which the activity of this group has evolved since its constitution. That has generated an authentic culture of water, highlighting that it is a precious and scarce resource.
The heritage of the Haciendas de Argual y Tazacorte is a group of owners of private waters on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands) whose origin dates back to 1502. La Palma has been an important centre of sugar production and export to the European market since the 16th century. The sugar mills of Argual and Tazacorte converted the sugar cane that was grown in the fields irrigated with water from La Caldera. Although the felling of trees and the raising of livestock could have brought economic benefits, the owners recognized that maintaining the trees was essential for the conservation of the springs and their sources and that eliminating them would have been devastating to the entire ecosystem.
This outstanding and pioneering ecological awareness, present for over 500 years, is the reason why the Caldera de Taburiente has survived to the present day with its natural resources intact and has led to its declaration as a National Park. This status helps preserve what is a unique topography, home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, as well as 2,500 of the most productive and environmentally-friendly banana farms in the European Union.