F.For the Spanish conservationists it is a “historical judgment”. The European Court of Justice has ruled that “Spain is not complying with European laws protecting the Doñana National Park, which we have been denouncing for more than a decade,” said the environmental organization WWF. As early as 2010, the WWF filed the first lawsuit against “water theft” from the wetland, which is unique in Europe. According to the European Court of Justice, the “disproportionate abstraction of groundwater” in the Doñana nature reserve violates EU law, in particular the Water Framework and Habitats Directives. He thus upheld a lawsuit by the EU Commission. She had complained that Spain was “not taking appropriate steps to prevent the deterioration of protected habitats in the wetlands.”
More than a thousand illegally drilled wells deprive the area of water. This is used to water strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, which are also exported to Germany. The WWF estimates that around a quarter of these plantations were built without the required permits. In addition, the tourist center of Matalascañas in the neighboring province of Huelva needs a lot of water. The groundwater level sinks, the water quality decreases. Because of climate change, there is a lack of precipitation. According to WWF, this means that the alluvial land has been practically dry for two years. This also has fatal consequences for the flora and fauna.
Hundreds of thousands of migratory birds rest there on their way from their winter quarters in Africa to their breeding areas in Northern Europe. 360 bird species are counted. In addition, there are rare mammals, such as the Iberian lynx, which was threatened with extinction until recently and which has made its home again. With an area of 125,000 hectares, it is the largest wetland in Europe, a large part of which consists of marshland. The area on the Atlantic coast on the lower reaches of the Guadalquivir river was supposed to be drained in the sixties of the last century to make room for agriculture and tourism. Today it is not only a national park, but also a UNESCO biosphere reserve that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.