Spain's plan supports unsustainable trends, environmentalists allege, because it will further encourage overuse of water by farmers through building of over 100 new dams to store water for irrigation and construction of at least one canal to transfer water from wetter northern to dryer southern river basins (ENDS Daily 6 September). EU funds are likely to be sought to support both of these developments, the groups say.
The environmentalists also claim that the plan would lead to specific breaches of the water framework directive. These include failure to take into account the river basin management approach and unjustified exemption for agriculture from a requirement for environmental costs to be internalised in water charges.
In addition, say the groups, the plan will cause further damage to endangered habitats and risk to endangered species, in breach of both the EU's habitats and wild birds directives. The Iberian lynx and the otter are two species that could be particularly hard hit by new dams, the groups say.
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