Drought Imposes Water Restrictions in Western Europe

English Section / 22 ianuarie

Drought Imposes Water Restrictions in Western Europe

Versiunea în limba română

Drought is affecting economic activities in the Iberian Peninsula. A 2022 study showed that climate change has brought the Iberian Peninsula into the most drought-prone situation in the last 1,200 years. The interim government of Portugal has ordered reductions in the amounts of water used for irrigation of agricultural land and in urban areas, including hotels in the Algarve, a tourism-dependent southern region where severe drought has nearly emptied local reservoirs. The Catalonia region in northeastern Spain is facing the most severe drought in the history of meteorological measurements, and authorities in the Barcelona metropolitan area have announced that they will reduce water pressure in the supply systems of some cities. Portugal's Minister of the Environment, Duarte Cordeiro, stated last week that agricultural irrigation in the region will need to decrease on average by 25% compared to last year's levels, but reductions could reach up to 50% around dams with less water. Urban consumers, including golf clubs and hotels, will face reductions of 15%. "The reservoirs in the Algarve are at the lowest known levels. If nothing is done about moderating consumption, we will reach the end of 2024 without water for public supply,' said the Portuguese minister. Water reservoirs on the Portuguese mainland are filled on average at 73%, with some in the north of the country at maximum capacity due to recent heavy rains, while in the Algarve, they are filled on average only at 25%, with some as low as 8%-15% of capacity, a drastic decrease compared to the 45% recorded a year ago, he added.

Meanwhile, Catalan authorities warned this week that new emergency restrictions of up to 80% for water use in agriculture will be imposed once the total reservoir level in the region reaches 16%. Reservoirs are currently filled at only 16.2%. Filling empty pools will be prohibited, including for tourist facilities. For outdoor pools, clubs will be required to close all showers. Also, beach showers will be closed. Those violating the restrictions will be fined up to euro3,000 in the Barcelona area. In the southern region of Andalusia, local officials stated that there will be water restrictions in major cities such as Seville, Cordoba, and Malaga until summer, in the absence of substantial rains. Water pressure has already been reduced at night in some cities."