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article imageManager of Spanish theme park in deep water over theft

By Anne Sewell     Aug 30, 2013 in World
Madrid - The manager of a popular water park in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid has been arrested. Allegedly he has been systematically syphoning off water illegally for use in the park for several years.
On Thursday this week, Mariano Valverde, the manager of the Aquópolis water park in Villanueva de la Cañada in Madrid, was taken into custody by the environmental protection unit of Spain's Civil Guard police force.
It seems the manager is deep in trouble for allegedly stealing what could be up to 400,000 cubic meters of water over a period of five years, worth around €500,000 ($666,000). If found guilty, he could face heavy fines.
Several employees of the water park have reportedly been working with the Civil Guard authorities on the case.
According to Valverde, he has been using water from underground wells managed by the authority overseeing the waters of the river Tajo. However, police now believe the park was actually siphoning water from the key Canal de Isabel II, which provides water to the Community of Madrid.
While the park does have a water contract with Canal de Isabel II, authorities there say it hasn't officially used any of its water since 2008. Meanwhile, according to Tajo River authorities, they say that no contract has ever been signed by the water park.
The manager will be appearing before the court in Móstoles on the charge and Canal de Isabel II will no doubt sue the company for surreptitious water usage.
The company that operates the water park, Parques Reunidos, stated in July that it complies with all water laws and that they had not received any complaints over their water usage.
Parques Reunidos runs 11 parks across Europe, seven of which are located in Spain. The company is the largest owner of water parks on mainland Spain, located in seven centers, with around a million visitors per season.
Aquópolis water park in Villanueva de la Cañada in Madrid.
Aquópolis water park in Villanueva de la Cañada in Madrid.
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