Almost half of Spain’s water consumption is illegal

Almost half of Spain’s annual water consumption is taken from illegal sources, according to a new report entitled ‘Global Change Spain 2020. The Challenge is to Act.” Golf courses are one of the biggest consumers of illegally drawn water, claims the report.

Prepared by the Madrid’s Complutense University General Foundation, and the CONAMA Foundation, the report concludes that “Spain is not doing well” from an environmental point of view. The report urges the government to take a stronger lead in developing a sustainable economic model, and take urgent action to head of an environmental disaster.

The report claims that there are 500,000 illegal boreholes in Spain, implying that only 20% of Spain’s wells and boreholes are regulated. Unregulated water consumption is mainly used for watering crops, tourist urbanisations, and golf courses. As a result, Spain consumes and contaminates double the amount of water that it is entitled to, argue the report’s authors.

On present trends of water consumption and waste, Spain is set for serious water shortages by 2015.



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About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based property market analyst and consultant, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on