THE GUARDIA CIVIL have arrested 26 farmers for illegally using water in the eastern La Axarquia area of Malaga province.

A further ten are being investigated for illegal irrigation of their avocado and mango crops in a part of Spain that is struggling with drought.

The Guardia probe started in 2018 with officers discovering numerous illegal wells and clandestine pipe networks between farms.

Those detained have been accused of crimes against natural resources and the environment.

Investigations were prompted by complaints from irrigators and the campaign group, Ecologists in Action.

The pace of inquiries was slow due to the Covid pandemic and difficulty in uncovering information due to the silence of many people.

Over three million square metres of land was inspected and of the 299 wells and other water sources discovered, 250 were illegal.

The water was taken from an underwater spring with the nearby La Vinuela reservoir currently below 10% capacity due to the drought.

The Guardia believe the illegal tapping of water may have gone on non-stop for years with around €10 million of clandestine supplies obtained.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.