Monday, 10 July 2023, 16:58
Government authorities will seal off at least 25 illegal water catchments in the Doñana wetlands area in Andalucía. The national government announced the measure on Friday 7 July to protect water sources amid the current drought that is crippling Spain's countryside.
The move comes two weeks ahead of the general elections in Spain and two days after Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, criticised the Junta de Andalucía for the bill currently going through the regional parliament which calls for the legalisation of irrigated land in the area surrounding the Doñana Natural Park.
The interventions in the province of Huelva, in the Doñana area, have been carried out in the municipalities of Almonte, Lucena del Puerto, Bonares and Rociana del Condado, four of the five municipalities included in the proposed law.
According to the national Government delegation in a statement, these are wells that do not have the right to the private use of water. The new measures implemented, according to the government, "prevent the continuation of the infringements detected in bodies of water declared to be irrigated and in a situation aggravated by the severe drought".
As of 7 July, some 13 of the 25 illegal wells had already been sealed, and action will be taken on the rest over the next few days. The Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir will also inspect and report on other water catchments in the same area.
The Guadalquivir River Basin Authority also took action last week on four of the seven illegal wells in municipalities in the Vega del Guadalquivir in Seville, especially in Alcolea del Río and Villanueva del Río y Minas.
The intervention was the result of a year-long investigation by the Confederation with the Guardia Civil into the illegal use of surface and groundwater for irrigation of citrus fruits and, to a lesser extent, olive groves.
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