16 Aug, 2023 @ 09:15
1 min read

Spain’s Doñana National Park marks 54th anniversary amid challenges of drought and proposed irrigation measures

A group of Greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) in Coto Doñana National Park, with sand dunes in the background. Andalucia, Spain.

ESTABLISHED on August 14, 1969, by a government decree, Doñana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, marks its 54th anniversary amidst the concerning decline of the crucial Santa Olalla lagoon due to aquifer exploitation.

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The history of Doñana National Park began with the safeguarding of the initial 35,000 hectares in response to mounting ecological concerns.

However, more than fifty years later, the park’s aquifer, a lifeline for its biodiversity, faces what experts describe as its most critical period.

For the first time in its history and for a second consecutive year, the Santa Olalla lagoon has lost its water sheet due to overexploitation of the aquifer, leaving a bleak scenario for this unique wetland habitat.

A proposed law in the Andalusian Parliament seeks to regulate irrigation in the North Crown, however, WWF opposes the law, fearing it will worsen the critical state of the ecosystem, alongside water theft, drought, and the Guadalquivir River’s dredging.

WWF, a longstanding ally of Doñana, continues its daily efforts to address the paramount challenges facing the park and to support its revitalisation.

The organisation emphasises the need to combat threats like drought and water mismanagement, as well as large-scale undertakings such as river dredging and infrastructure expansion.

The park’s anniversary serves as a reminder of the urgent need for effective conservation measures and sustainable practices to secure the future of this invaluable natural heritage.


Cristina Hodgson

Half English, half Spanish animal person. Cristina loves writing about all things fitness, travel and culture, she is also a script writer and novelist. When she's not typing away, you can find her enjoying outdoor sports somewhere off the beaten track in Andalucia. If you have a story get in touch! [email protected]

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