ALICANTE is the driest populated area in the world, according to new rainfall data.

The province has experienced serious drought conditions, but data collected at the University of Alicante Climatology Laboratory shows that the province is now the driest zone in the world apart from the Atacama Desert, the uninhabited stretch of land between Chile and Peru.

It even rains more in the Sahel, the African region between the Sahara Desert and the savannah of Sudan.

In the last 12 months, Alicante has only seen 104.4 litres of rainfall per-square-metre – only 30% of the normal rates.

“We’re in the worst years for water in the past century,” remarked climatologist Jorge Olcina, who says that real irrigation problems await if rainfall does not return soon.