Government warns of worst drought in more than a decade

LAST UPDATED: 8 Feb, 2008 @ 14:06
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Spain Drought

Agriculture set to be worst hit as country faces summer water restrictions

SPAIN is suffering its worst drought in 12 years, according to the Government.

Speaking in Toledo, officials from the Environment Ministry claim the Mediterranean coast from Catalunya to Algeciras is experiencing “severe water shortages.”

Refusing to rule out water restrictions this summer, Jaime Palop added that Galicia in northern Spain and Extremadura have an “important water deficit.”

“We are not talking about limiting water to those in the worst hit areas yet,” señor Palop said, “but the situation is severe.

“Farmers in parts of Andalucía and Murcia will certainly face water cutbacks,” he added.

A decrease in rainfall between 1971 and 2000 has contributed to the current low reservoir levels, which are at an average capacity of 43.7 per cent.

In Granada, a province that has been “extremely dry” in the past 37 years, certain reservoirs stand at less than the national average.

Bermejales near Alhama de Granada has 45 cubic hectometres of water (capacity of 102.6hm3) while Rules inland from the Costa Tropical has 7hm3 (42hm3).

In Málaga, a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall last year has led to water shortages in the province. At Viñuela in the Axarquia area, the reservoir is currently storing 42hm3 (170hm3). At Guadalhorce, levels stand at 14.4hm3 (126hm3).

Meanwhile, the driest region in Europe is set to supply water to drought-stricken Catalunya. Officials in Barcelona plan to ship in water from a desalination plant at Carboneras, Almería, to avert water cuts.

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