18 Investigated In Murcia For Water Theft

Guardia Civil Uncover 51 Illegal Wells In murcia

Illegal well in Murcia. Credit: GuardiaCivil.es

The water shortage has led some farmers to take drastic measures which has exacerbated the problem.

The Guardia Civil has investigated 18 individuals for illegally extracting groundwater in Mazarron, Murcia. The operation which was carried out in collaboration with the Segura Hydrographic Confederation, took place in March this year. The focus of the investigation was the Mazarron aquifer, declared at ‘quantitative risk’ by the Segura Hydrographic Confederation in 2014.

The Scale Of The Problem

Through ground and aerial reconnaissance, several agricultural greenhouses were identified in the area. Joint teams of Guardia Civil and technicians from the Segura Hydrographic Confederation were established to inspect the farms. Upon inspecting 53 farms, 51 illegal wells were discovered. These were often hidden in hard-to-reach areas, concealed under plastic or metal sheets.

Legal Consequences

To trace the water’s destination, agents followed the hydraulic pipes leading from the wells. They found that the water was being channelled to greenhouses growing tomatoes, lettuce, and melons. This effectively transformed dry land into irrigated farms. In total, 18 people are being investigated for crimes against natural resources, the environment, and water theft.

The investigation has confirmed the theft of over 2.5 million cubic metres of water, causing an economic loss of more than two million euros to the public hydraulic domain.

The individuals under investigation and the proceedings have been forwarded to the Investigation Department of Lorca, Murcia. The illegal water extractions from the Rambla de Ramonete in Murcia set off alarms for the Guardia Civil’s Nature Protection Service. The wells were equipped with generators that powered the extraction motors.

The Guardia Civil’s actions have highlighted the significant impact of illegal water extraction on both the environment and the economy.

The case serves as a stark reminder of the need for stringent regulations and oversight to protect our natural resources. The ongoing investigation aims to bring those responsible to justice and prevent further damage to the public hydraulic domain.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.

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