World Wetlands Day 2005 -- Spain

02/03/2005

WWF and Greenpeace blame wetland destruction on Jucar transfer

2 Feb 2005

Madrid, Spain --- WWF and Greenpeace say the Júcar-Vinalopó transfer is the coup de grace for the second largest wetland in Spain, the Parque Natural de La Albufera de Valencia. On the occasion of the World Wetlands Day on February 2, the organizations demand the stopping of the transfer, keeping in mind that Spain has lost 60% of her wetlands in the last 50 years.

The Jucár-Vinalopó water transfer aims to transfer 80 hm3 of water per year over 67 kilometres from the Júcar river to the area of Alicante/Benidorm, where it will be used for urban and tourist consumption and irrigation. The transfer will have negative impacts on the coastal wetland Albufera and the irrigation area of the Lower Jucar. Between 1990 and 2000 urbanized land in Alicante has increased by over 62%, almost three times of the national average. Last year, the Valencian government modified the management plan of the Albufera wetland to take into account urban development in the area.

The Albufera wetland is included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention, to which Spain is a signatory since 1982.

Work on the Júcar-Vinalopó transfer began in 2003 despite the public opposition to the project demonstrated by the 20,000 petitions submitted against it The transfer also does not meet the environmental requirements imposed by the European Commission, and went ahead inspite of an European Parliament recommendation that the transfer be stopped.

WWF and Greenpeace applaud the announcement of the Environment Minister, Cristina Narbona, to invest 503 million euro in an action plan to restore the Albufera wetland, but remind the Minister that over 230 million euro are invested in the transfer which is destroying the ecosystem.

For further information
Guido Schmidt
Freshwater Officer
WWF Spain
Tel.+ 34 91 354 05 78


(Mr) Jamie Pittock
Director, Global Freshwater Programme
WWF International
15/71 Constitution Ave
Campbell ACT 2612
Australia
Phone: +61 (0)2 6257 4010
Fax: +61 (0)2 6257 4030
Mobile: +61 (0) 407 265 131
E-mail: jpittock@wwf.org.au
www.panda.org

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