Government seals 25 illegal wells in parched Doñana

by Lorraine Williamson
illegal well sealed off

ALMONTE – At least 25 illegal water abstractions in the dried-out and protected wetland Doñana in western Andalucia have been sealed. The Spanish government has taken this action to protect the water resources during the drought that hits Spain. 

The move comes just two weeks before the country’s general election. The aim is to protect water resources and limit damage to the countryside. 

Criticism of bill 

The timing of this measure also comes shortly after the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, criticised Andalucia’s government. She criticised the bill currently being considered in the regional parliament, which proposes the legalisation of irrigated land in the area around the Doñana National Park. 

Also read: European pressure to save Doñana 

Interventions in Huelva and Seville 

The government’s actions have focused on the province of Huelva, in particular in the municipalities of Almonte, Lucena del Puerto, Bonares and Rociana del Condado. These four municipalities are part of the proposed irrigation legislation. Furthermore, these are wells that are not entitled to the private use of water. 

Cogesa Expats

Continuation of the measures 

As of July 7, 13 of the 25 illegal wells had already been sealed, with the remaining wells being addressed in the coming days. In addition, the Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir will inspect and report on other water abstractions in the same area. 

Also in Seville, the Guadalquivir river basin authority last week took action against 4 of the 7 illegal wells. These were located in municipalities in the Vega del Guadalquivir, in particular in Alcolea del Río and Villanueva del Río y Minas. 

The intervention was the result of a year-long investigation by the Confederation in collaboration with the Guardia Civil into the illegal use of surface and groundwater for irrigation purposes, mainly for citrus fruits and to a lesser extent for olive groves. 

Also read: European pressure to save Doñana 

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