IMPACTS GENERATED. RISKS
The rapid growth of Water Hyacinth has a number of negative effects, which result in the following ones:
- It blocks the water-air interface, and alters physical and chemical conditions while the structure of the river habitat itself, causing changes in the communities of animals and plants associated with water.
- They decrease water quality by reducing the amount of light available to aquatic organisms, reducing photosynthetic rate and oxygen levels.
- Its presence involves large contributions of organic matter to bodies of water, and its decomposition can deplete dissolved oxygen. This causes changes in the smell, color and taste of water and is the origin, in certain circumstances, of animal mortality.
- It is the cause of a reduction in biological diversity. Floating masses remove submerged vegetation by blocking sunlight and competing for space (by compression or displacement). In addition, animal communities are disrupted by the elimination or blockade of their habitats or, elimination of the plants or animals on which they depend to feed or reproduce.
- Restricting the natural movement of water in rivers, with the consequence that the capacity of the watercourses is reduced and the chance of flooding increases, a fact that also causes social alarm and decreases the state of the Welfare.
- Plugging in hydraulic infrastructures causing damage to the irrigation economy, as it carries high economic costs.
- Physical interference with certain recreational activities, such as fishing, swimming, sailing, water sports, etc.
- Excess evapotranspiration, causing water waste that could be used for other uses.
- Generation of suitable habitats for the development of pathogenic organisms or disease vectors
Thanks to the control work carried out, the damage caused can be considered minimal, but should be enphasise the fact that, the impacts described above could be aggravated if no decisive action is taken against this species.
In this sense, it should be highlight that in the affected section of river there are several spaces of the Natura 2000 Network, declared as such for their environmental values that it is necessary to preserve. These spaces are:
ZEC ” Guadiana River Alto-Zújar”
ZEPA “Montijo Dam”
ZEPA “Azud (water wheel) of Badajoz”
ZEC “International Guadiana River”