Journalists were taken on a boat tour last weekend of Las Tablas de Daimiel, so that they could marvel at a level of water that once again allows this hugely neglected national park to be referred to as wetlands. It seems that the underground fires that were burning in the dried out peat of Las Tablas have now finally been extinguished. The Spanish government would almost certainly like journalists to write that this transformation has been accomplished as a result of the emergency water transfer organised from the Tajo river. In reality most of the water to be seen in the area these days is a result of more natural conditions, the unusually intense rainfall in Castilla-La Mancha during the last few weeks has provided significantly more water than the government's efforts.
Whatever the source of the water it has to be welcomed. The problem is whether, as critics of the government's plan have frequently pointed out, the water will last for very long. The reason why Las Tablas dried out was not because of natural causes, there are said to be thousands of illegal wells being used for agriculture in this area and over exploitation of the aquifers is what led to the dramatic situation for the park. So if nothing is done to prevent the continuing extraction of water from these wells it seems quite likely that the water shipped from the Tajo could just end up passing temporarily through the Tablas before being used for crops. The long term question is whether the government is really prepared to stand up to the demands for water for agricultural use in order to preserve Daimiel.