February 25, 2021

The European Commission applauds the closure of illegal wells in Doñana | Society


The European Comission It is pending the conflict over water that has been living in the Doñana environment since the beginning of this decade. Hundreds of illegal wells extract uncontrolled water from the aquifer where the iconic protected space lives to feed a powerful agricultural industry. Brussels, after several notices, was planted earlier this year and denounced in January to Spain before the Court of Justice of the European Union for not stopping this theft. For two weeks, the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation (CHG) is carrying out one of the largest well removal operations. This closure of about 77 wells and two rafts in Lucena del Puerto (Huelva), which will be concluded shortly, does not close the complaint against Spain. But the European Commission applauds the step taken.

Sources of the Environment Commission, which leads the process against Spain for inaction in preventing theft of water, indicate THE COUNTRY that "welcome the measures communicated by the Spanish Government in relation to the closure of illegal wells in Doñana. " And they add that these measures "are going in the right direction to ensure compliance with EU regulations regarding the European Commission's claim before the EU Court of Justice."

The Ministry for Ecological Transition, on which the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation depends, has already informed the Commission of the closure of these 77 wells, which, after years of lawsuits and confrontations, is being carried out with the support of a judgment of the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia. After a failed first attempt at the end of June, the closure is being carried out with a large Civil Guard device to prevent farmers in the area from blocking the elimination of illegal funds.

The sources consulted maintain that "the Commission will continue to closely monitor the evolution of this file in close contact with the Spanish authorities." In any case, this does not mean the end of the lawsuit against Spain before the European court, which refers to the years in which compliance with the European directives that protect Doñana has not been guaranteed.

That process dates back to 2010, when the WWF environmental organization filed a complaint with Brussels. After several locations and opinions, on January 24 the Commission denounced Spain. Brussels explained that Doñana "feeds on various bodies of surface water (mainly the Guadalquivir estuary) and an extensive aquifer." And he warned: "The diversion of large quantities of water both for agriculture and for the needs of local tourists is depressing the water table." In addition, "the sharp decrease in the level of groundwater has exacerbated the vulnerability" of Doñana "in the face of the dry seasons in the area and led to its further deterioration."

WATER THEFT IN DOÑANA

Illegal wells detected by the agents of the Hydrographic Confederation of Guadalquivir only in this area of ​​the Huelva municipalities of Lucena del Puerto and Moguer.

Source: IGME, Junta de Andalucía and Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir.

After bringing Spain to court, the Commission stressed that it was "concerned about the likelihood that the status of the wetland will continue to degrade." And he regretted that "the measures implemented to guarantee the sustainable management of water resources and the conservation of Doñana's habitats are insufficient, and their execution defective."

Following the lawsuit, the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation announced that the process for the closure of the 77 wells of Lucena was being finalized, which is one of the main black points of water theft in Doñana. The process also began to declare a large part of the aquifer as "at risk of not reaching good status", as the old overexploitation figure is now called.

Juan Carlos del Olmo, responsible for WWF, applauds the actions of the Hydrographic Confederation of the Guadalquivir and the Government. But he warns that it is "a beginning", since this environmental organization calculates that the deposits without permission near Doñana are around a thousand.

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