Europe’s historic drought this summer is compounding the risk of a recession. The devastating heatwave is keeping supplies in a vise and prices high.

Transport, trade and tourism are also dramatically affected by the drying up of rivers. The European Drought Monitor estimates that 45% of the territory of the Union countries is affected by heat, and in some parts it is even code red.

The Rhine, inaccessible to ships because of its low level

Europe’s rivers and canals transport more than a ton of cargo per capita of the European Union each year. It thus contributes 80 billion dollars to countries’ budgets. For centuries a mainstay of the German, Dutch and Swiss economy, the Rhine has become almost inaccessible to ships as its level has dropped to record lows.

Christian Lorenz, representative of HGK AG and RheinCargo GmbH: “Salt shipments from Heilbronn on the Neckar to the Rhine were normally 2,200 tons per vessel. Now they come with only 600 tons. The smaller the water, the lower the load”.

The river carries most of the coal to Germany’s heavy industry and power plants in an effort to offset the impact of Russian pressure on natural gas supplies. German companies have ordered vessels adapted to transport liquefied gases through shallow waters.

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Christian Lorenz, representative of HGK AG and RheinCargo GmbH: “All new vessels are now designed for shallow water.”

More than 100 localities in France do not have running drinking water

More than 100 localities in France have no running drinking water, being supplied by tankers, and the electricity crisis is exacerbated by the low level of the Rhone and Garonne rivers, which is why the operation of nuclear power plants has been interrupted.

Drought is a dramatic threat to both grain crops and livestock feed. Maize crops are particularly affected.

Baptiste Colson, 31, head of the Jeunes Agriculteurs (Young Farmers) union in Cote d’Or: “We know that the corn harvest will be 30% lower this summer, but the quality is not optimal either. Corn will be just as digestible, because it is much drier. We have to buy concentrate to balance the nutritional level so that the cows can give milk. We have to bring the feed for the cattle out to graze, because they can’t find enough grass”.

Jean-Pierre Sonvico, president of the Federation for Fisheries and the Protection of the Aquatic Environment of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté department: “It’s dramatic, but what can we do? Nothing, absolutely nothing. We just wait and hope for the rain, the storms, but the forecast from Meteo France is alarmist, the drought should persist a little until October 15”.

Thousands of thirsty animals are suffering from the high temperatures in the country of alpine meadows

Helicopters from the Swiss armed forces were mobilized to transport water for thousands of thirsty animals suffering from high temperatures in the country of alpine meadows.

It’s the same problem in the UK.

Bizza Walters, farmer and rural councillor: “We are very worried, especially because after eight months, when the lambs are born, the ewes stay in the barn and eat only hay. If we give them the rations for then, we risk starving them in the spring”.

And tourism is suffering from the unprecedented drought. Italy’s longest river, the Po, should have been animated by summer boats.

Stefano Marca, owner of a boat on the river Po: “Before, the water level was 3-4 meters in the middle of the river, now it is about 20 centimeters. Normally there was a kind of highway for boats here, they were like cars in Milan. Permanently, one comes and goes, especially at this time of the year, now, zero”.

In France, access to the Verdon Gorge, a popular destination among canoeists and expeditioners, has been banned.

Bernard Nadal, manager of a nautical base: “Customership is down 60%.”

Tourism has also been hit hard at Germany’s Lake Edersee, which is now only a fifth of its normal level.

Soundbite Claus Günther, manager Edersee Marketing GmbH: “Climate change has indeed reached us. We have completely dry lakes. All water sports have stopped.”

Nuria Hernández-Mora, co-founder of the New Water Culture Foundation: “The current and future droughts will have a massive socio-economic and environmental impact. We need to quickly find solutions to adapt to less and less water. We must use it wisely”.

Source: PROTV news

Tags: drought, europe, tourism,

Publication date: 12-08-2022 17:21

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