Southern European countries face severe drought

Wednesday, July 6, 2022 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – As Italy continues to experience its worst drought in 70 years, southern European countries Portugal and Spain are among others battling extreme heat and water shortages, DW reports.

Experts say drought shortages are compounded by overconsumption of water both in the private sector and in agriculture: private consumption accounts for 9% of total usage in the Europe Union, while agriculture uses around 60%, DW said. “Droughts are one thing,” Nihat Zal, a water expert at the European Environment Agency (EEA) told DW. “The other is how much water we take out of the system.”

In northern Italy, more than 100 cities have been asked to reduce water consumption, with the government declaring a state of emergency for five regions through the end of December, DW reports. The water level in Italy’s largest river, the Po, is eight times lower than usual.

Portugal has been experiencing severe drought over 97% of the country since May, DW said. The country’s Minister for Environment and Climate Action Duarte Cordeiro, the Portuguese Minister announced last week that citizens will be facing restrictions and higher prices for water.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of Spain is so dry it is at risk of desertification, DW said. “The demand doesn’t stop growing,” Juan Barea of Greenpeace Spain told DW. “Instead of proposing policies that save water we are acting as if Spain had as much water as Norway or Finland. In reality, we are more on the level of North Africa,” Barea said.

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