Europe puts Catalonia on high alert due to drought

Europe puts Catalonia on high alert due to drought

Southern Europe continues to experience “persistent and critical drought” conditions through May. This is the tally of the latest monthly report published by the European Environment Committee, which warns of how widespread drought, pending the arrival of warmer months, could worsen the situation.

On the map, Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia and eastern Andalusia are painted red, despite the rainfall that fell during the spring. Another worrying focus is the southeast: Italy, the Balkans, Greece and Turkey all appear in orange. In other words, drought is more widespread in these regions, but not as severe as in the Spanish Mediterranean region.

Water scarcity in Scandinavia, especially on the west coast of Norway, also draws attention. But in the rest of Europe there are no alarming signs, although some countries have suffered from complex situations that they are now overcoming.

Concern, as has been warned in Catalonia despite rain that has eased some restrictions, is focused on the high temperatures that will affect not only the south, but the whole of Europe in the coming weeks and months. This scenario favors an acceleration of the evaporation process and can lead to the intensification of scarcity episodes.

According to the latest community assessment, drought struck several regions in Europe in August 2023, some of which are not accustomed to this phenomenon. In total, the estimated cost of droughts in the EU and UK is €9,000 million. A large portion of this money is due to farmers’ losses.

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Flexible projects

Since the situation is not expected to improve in the coming years, the EU Green Week today and tomorrow will focus on finding solutions to increasingly common droughts. Projects will be discussed to gain water resilience, avoid supply crises or prepare for flood risk.

The challenge is to rebalance the water cycle, which is “overexploited” and “polluted” on many occasions, and to secure resources while ensuring biodiversity in wetlands and rivers, one of the habitats most at risk of desertification. The aim of this cycle of conferences in which many countries will participate is to find cooperative formulas to slow the degradation of ecosystems and adapt them to the climate crisis.

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