More than 500,000 ‘illegal’ wells identified in Spain

RESCUE OPERATION: Julen’s disappearance down a borehole in January sparked focus on wells. Credit: Guardia Civil

OFFICIALS are warning there are around 500,000 poorly constructed water wells across Spain.

The Higher Council of Colleges of Mining Engineers said many of these sites are illegal, in poor condition, and pose a risk due to bad management.

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The body also warned a lack of personnel made applying for legal permits for these holes ‘long and arduous.’  It added: “It is necessary to correct and eliminate the serious threat that the abandoned holes pose, as Seprona [the Guardia Civil’s environmental arm] is currently monitoring very effectively.” The group said the work is ‘very urgent.’

In January, the issue of water prospecting holes opened up a debate after two-year-old Julen fell and died at the bottom of a 71-metre well in Totalan.


  1. Don’t say I didn’t tell you but I think this is clearly being used as an excuse to push landowners of holdings with ‘illegal’ wells. This tragedy is being used as a cover for targeting land and property owners.

    • There’s been a large and illegal construction behind me for over 10 years and that’s on an urbanisation in a popular tourist town. Seems to me it’s who you know that’s important to many Ayuntamientos.


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