‘Farmers are digging their own graves’: true cost of growing food in Spain’s arid south

‘Farmers are digging their own graves’: true cost of growing food in Spain’s arid south

Intensive agriculture’s insatiable thirst for water is turning wetland to wasteland, draining rivers and polluting groundwater

A wetland without water is a melancholy sight. The fish are dead, the birds have flown and a lifeless silence hangs over the place. “Everything you see around you should be under water,” says Ecologists in Action’s Rafa Gosálvez from the lookout in Las Tablas de Daimiel national park. The park has been dry for three years and where there were once aquatic species such as ducks, herons, egrets and freshwater crayfish, as well as tree frogs and the European polecat, now the wildlife has mostly vanished.

Las Tablas de Daimiel is a unique wetland in the vast, almost treeless plains of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain. But the park has had the life sucked out of it to slake intensive agriculture’s insatiable thirst.

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