The great drought affecting Spain and France, along with other European countries, is causing extreme measures to take care of water. It is one more consequence of climate change. In Spain, olive trees are drying up and olive and olive oil production is severely affected, along with agriculture in general. Olive oil consumption has become a luxury. In France, the sale of swimming pools, watering lawns or washing vehicles was banned.
Spain and France, worst hit by drought.
The drought in the Eastern Pyrenees is almost unprecedented. Such a phenomenon has not occurred since 1959. More than 100 French communes are already without drinking water and the government has ordered the delivery of water to solve the problem, partly because the pipes are completely dry.
This summer would be the third in a row where drought is the excluding issue. According to the European Commission, that of this 2023 could be even worse than the previous two. A United Nations report has already warned that there will be a water supply crisis in a large part of the world.
The scarce rain and snowfall left by the wet season, depleted the scarce water reserves. Northern Italy and the aforementioned cases of Spain and France are the most worrisome, since there the water supply for human consumption is scarce. Although there, it is also necessary for agriculture and energy production.
Drought may harm the economy of these countries.
France spent more than a month without rain, an event that had not been repeated for more than 60 years. In that country, the recycling of wastewater is being studied to supply part of the population. One of the problems is that only 67 of the country’s 33,000 wastewater treatment plants have adequate treatment for recycling.
The northwest of Spain is going through the same situation, low rainfall accompanied by extreme heat. In Barcelona, the six million residents in the metropolitan area will have a shortage of drinking water. The Sau reservoir is at only 9% of its capacity and the fish have even been removed to prevent them from dying of suffocation.
However, the region of Catalonia is the most worrying. The reservoirs that supply water to the region are well below normal and will have to face the whole summer in this situation. Regional economies are concerned because without water, agriculture and industry will not be able to survive.
In Italy, the government declared a state of emergency in five regions. The most affected area is in the north, on the country’s border with France and Switzerland and as far as the Adriatic Sea. Italy is the European country that uses the most water from its rivers, lakes and reservoirs. However, these are in a situation of not being able to cope with the consumption.