Researchers Demonstrate That Sierra Nevada is Home to the Oldest Underground Water Recharge System in Europe


Scientists from the University of Granada, the IGME, and the Universities of Cologne and Lisbon have demonstrated that the careo irrigation channels of Sierra Nevada constitute the oldest underground aquifer recharge system on the continent.

A multidisciplinary group of scientists from the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME) and the Universities of Granada, Cologne, and Lisbon has demonstrated that the traditional careo underground aquifer recharge system used in Sierra Nevada is the oldest in Europe. This finding is the outcome of various research techniques conducted by experts from different fields including archaeology, sedimentology, geophysics, and hydrogeology.

The results of this study have been published in the prestigious Journal of Hydrology, in a paper entitled “The oldest managed aquifer recharge system in Europe: New insights from the Espino recharge channel (Sierra Nevada, Southern Spain)”.

The “sowing and harvesting” of water is the managed process by which human beings intentionally channel water to seep via the subsoil (sowing) so that it can be collected (harvested) at some point in the future. For centuries, this practice of recharging mountain aquifers has been conducted in several regions of our planet, although the most-documented cases are found in the high-Andean regions of Peru and Ecuador.

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