The NASA Earth Observatory has stated that “agriculture and tourism beyond the park’s borders have increasingly taxed the water supply” in Doñana and que 83% of wetlands are less flooded than could be explained by drought.
The US agency has released a report citing the findings of a study that has used satellite data for more than three decades to understand how human demands on the aquifer have affected ponds.
To do this, scientists from the Doñana Biological Station used Landsat images to quantify the extent and duration of flooding in 316 ponds between 1985 and 2018 and they concluded that, in large part, the use of groundwater caused most of them to “flood less frequently and, in some cases, dry up completely.”
The most notable impacts appear directly adjacent to where the water is pumped, according to the conclusions of the report, which highlights the development of the Matalascañas tourist enclave and that takes advantage of groundwater.
He adds that a golf course that operated there for 17 years reduced pond flooding during that time and that, on the western fringe of the park, greenhouses that grow strawberries and other berry crops draw water from the aquifer for irrigation.