Presence of Illicit Drugs in Surface Waters of Protected Natural Wetlands Connected to Traditional Irrigation Systems and Urban Areas

  • J. A. Pascual Aguilar
  • V. Andreu
  • P. Vázquez
  • Y. Picó
Part of the Environmental Earth Sciences book series (EESCI)


The Mediterranean wetlands are unique in biological diversity and they offer multiple benefits constituting a great water reserve for the planet and to produce biomass and nutrients for the trophic chain. However, the increasing human impact and the socio-economic development of the last decades have provoked important losses in these ecosystems. The work has been developed in the Natural Park of La Albufera (Valencia, Spain), which includes a coastal lagoon, marshlands, dunes and pinewoods, surrounded by rice fields in its non-urbanized part. In spite of this great ecological value, it suffers impacts derived from the high human and industrial occupation and of the hydrological contributions from the connected irrigation systems. The study has been focused on the development of a combined methodology based on environmental forensic principles to identify illicit drugs and its spatial sources and implications. Results show that rather than the pattern of population distribution the traditional irrigation system connected to location of sewage treatment plants is the way to introduce the illicit substances in the waters of the Natural Park.


Ecosystems Wetlands Irrigation systems Spain 



This work has been carried out in the scope of project HUCOMED CGL2008-01693/BTE and project GCL2007-66687-C02-01/BOS, both financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and technology.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Pascual Aguilar
    • 1
  • V. Andreu
    • 1
  • P. Vázquez
    • 2
  • Y. Picó
    • 2
  1. 1.Soil Degradation and Conservation DepartmentCentro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación–CIDEAlbal, ValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Toxicology, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of ValenciaBurjassot, ValenciaSpain

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