Climate activists said Sunday they had plugged the holes on 10 golf courses across Spain to protest at the sport's excessive water usage as Europe lives through a severe drought.
Activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) filled in the holes under cover of darkness in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, the Basque Country, Navarra and the Balearic Island of Ibiza to denounce "the waste of water during one of the worst droughts Europe has ever suffered".
"Golf has no place in a world without water," said a statement from the group, which uses direct action to underline its warnings about the dangers to the planet.
Some activists blocked holes with cement and left banners reading: "Alert: drought! Golf closed for climate justice" while others filled the holes with seedlings, said XR which is known for its trademark disruptive and headline-catching stunts.
"Just one hole of a golf course consumes more than 100,000 litres of water a day to maintain the surrounding green," XR said, citing figures from the Spanish NGO Ecologists In Action.
"In Spain, 437 golf courses are irrigated every day," it said, claiming the quantity of water used represented "a consumption level higher than that of the populations of Madrid and Barcelona combined, for an entertainment enjoyed by barely 0.6 percent of the population".
And it denounced "the irresponsibility and sheer cynicism of letting this type of elitist pastime continue as Spain dries up and the rural world loses millions due to the lack of water for their crops".
Experts say parts of Spain -- which is the world's biggest exporter of olive oil and a key source of Europe's fruit and vegetables -- are the driest they've been in a thousand years, with the prolonged drought depleting reservoirs to half their normal capacity.
- 'A luxury we can't afford' -
The summer of 2022 was the hottest in Europe's recorded history, with EU figures showing the drought blighting the continent was the worst in at least 500 years.
And earlier this week, the European Drought Observatory said 60 percent of Spain's territory was on red alert between June 1-10 due to the lack of rain as the first heatwave of summer pushed temperatures over 44 degrees Celsius
The golf course protest follows similar actions in recent weeks in Malaga, Seville, Almeria and Cordoba as well as an earlier action in Madrid last October, the group said.
Extinction Rebellion said it was part of a series of international protests "targeting the richest 1 percent of the population" through their golf courses, private jets and high-end cars to make clear that "the rich and their leisure activities that waste essential resources are a luxury we cannot afford".
Among its key demands, XR is calling for "an immediate and democratically-agreed plan for water use, in which the watering of golf course greens is restricted".
© Agence France-Presse
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