Disasters & Accidents

Drought grips Spain with no rain in sight

Madrid, Apr 13 (EFE).- Drought, a well-known phenomenon in Spain, has intensified this year depleting drinking water reservoirs, threatening crop harvests and increasing the risk of forest fires and hotter temperatures throughout the summer.

According to Spain’s meteorological agency (Aemet), March and April have been very dry despite showers being common during the Spring months.

To make matters worse, the agency is not expecting significant rains in the coming weeks.

The accumulated rainfall between October 1 and early April has yielded just 334 liters per square meter throughout Spain, 19% less than the average for that period which sits at 411 liters.

The scarcity of rain has resulted in drier soil, reduced river flows and shrinking water reserves that currently sit at 28,665 cubic hectometres, a far cry from the average for the decade of 37,445 hm3, according to Spain’s ecology ministry.

According to the ministry’s report, reservoirs this week have recorded their lowest figure since 2011, which was only surpassed by the sweltering Spring and Summer of 2022.

In Andalusia, south, regional authorities are about to issue a third drought decree to be launched in April, while in Catalonia, northwest, the situation is so worrying that the regional president, Pere Aragonés, said the drought “is already the first problem in Catalonia.”

Aragonés has put forward a plan to create more desalination and water treatment plants in a bid to ensure water security in the drought-struck region.

On a national level, several leading agricultural organizations have warned of enormous losses in cereal, vegetables and pasture crops, as well as reductions in sunflower and rice planting should rain remain elusive on the peninsula in the coming two weeks.

“Thousands and thousands of hectares of crops” are at risk with the drought that is “already suffocating 60% of the Spanish countryside and producing irreversible losses in more than 3.5 million hectares of dry land,” the Coordinator of Organizations of Farmers and Ranchers(COAG) said in a statement.

Prime minister Pedro Sánchez is to meet regional leaders and sector representatives for crisis talks on April 19.

In the last 60 years, mainland Spain has experienced three long-lasting and intense droughts (1982-1984, 1991-1996 and 2005-2009).

According to a recent study that ended in 2018, 2005 was the year with the least rainfall. EFE


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