THE largest permanent lagoon within the Doñana ecosystem, Santa Olalla, has now dried up entirely for the second year running.

This alarming phenomenon has not been witnessed since record-keeping began at the Doñana Biological Station, according to findings from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

The CSIC attributes this concerning situation to a combination of factors, primarily characterized by severe drought conditions and the excessive exploitation of the aquifer.

These elements have collectively contributed to what is being deemed a ‘serious situation’ for the Doñana lagoon system.

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Recent efforts to monitor the lagoon’s condition have been carried out by the Scientific and Technical Singular Infrastructure (ICTS) Doñana Biological Reserve, a division of the CSIC-affiliated Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC).

A monitoring camera was deployed a few weeks ago to track the lagoon’s evolution, culminating in the confirmation of its complete desiccation last Wednesday, August 9.

Worryingly, this marks the first instance of consecutive yearly desiccation recorded within the last fifty years of data collection by the research centre.

This incident serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent challenges posed by the dual impact of drought and the excessive exploitation of the underlying aquifer’s water on Doñana’s delicate lagunar system.

Doñana National Park, known for its diverse ecosystems and rich variety of resident species, was granted World Heritage Site status in 1994. This recognition highlights its unique status as a remarkable enclave within the European landscape.


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