WWF volunteers have celebrated a great European jump alive and healthy rivers, the ‘Big Jump’ in six locations throughout Spain. The Sil, the Guadalquivir, the Ebro and the Tagus have been some of those elected to this claim, which in Europe was held in 500 places rivers. With this action, held today for the tenth consecutive year, WWF wants to report that almost half of the rivers and lakes in Spain are in good condition. WWF notes that 2015 was the target year set by the Water Framework Directive of the European Union so that all waters reach good status. However, the Spanish hydrological plans submitted so far for the period 2016-2021 are not going in the right direction.
The sources of the Algar River in Alicante, Alto Sil in Villablino (Leon), the Guadalquivir through Cordoba, the mouth of the Guadalhorce in Malaga, the Tagus in Madrid and Zaragoza Ebro natural sites have been selected by WWF and their local groups of volunteers today to celebrate the ‘Big Jump’. It is the tenth edition of this European protest event that began in 2005 to recover the missing link between citizens and the rivers, and to demand a living and healthy rivers where people can enjoy and take a bath.
While the Water Framework Directive of the European Union (adopted in 2000) marked 2015 as the deadline for achieving “good ecological status” of the rivers and lakes of the continent (the bodies of surface water), WWF claims that in Spain are far from meeting the target. According to public information management plans, only 41% of the Spanish surface water bodies are in good condition, compared with 41% in poor condition and 18% of the data that do not even exist. WWF believes this assessment is too optimistic. There are still many bodies of water without evaluating, many in which no information has been updated and many indicators without assessing, as fish populations or the state of vegetation.
In 2015 the new basin plans that will determine the future of our rivers to be adopted in 2021, an opportunity to change this worrisome situation. “Unfortunately these draft plans presented so far still leave the environment in the background and are committed to business as usual, more infrastructure, more irrigation, in short more supply water to cover all claims without evaluating their need and their impact “he assured the head of the water program of WWF and agriculture Spain, Eva Hernandez.
WWF has objected to the draft requesting hydrological plans, as has also the European Commission itself, the strict compliance with the provisions of the Water Framework Directive. This involves improving the knowledge of starting, setting ambitious environmental targets, including some that allow environmental flows in rivers fulfill their natural functions, and propose measures to reduce the pressures on the waters, as the elimination of illegal use of water, restoration of rivers and wetlands, ensure that environmental costs are borne by those exercising pressures and manage demand for water to come down to sustainable levels.
“With these new plans are not the state of our rivers, lakes and aquifers will be improved. Administrations are still not understand that the only way to ensure that future generations will have water to improve the health of aquatic ecosystems. Still time to change the schedule, “concluded Eva Hernandez.
On the Big Jump
The Big Jump is an initiative coordinated by the ‘European Rivers Network’ (European Rivers Network) in which hundreds of NGOs and thousands of people from across Europe. It was first held in 2005 and this year there will be 500 events in 28 European countries. This year also 60 young ambassadors of rivers travel to Brussels on July 13 to ask European politicians more protection for our aquatic ecosystems.