From dry reservoirs and lakes in Italy, France or Spain, to impassable rivers such as the Danube, the Rhine or the Po, a devastating drought affects half of the European continent.

This summer, Europe has already lost a record 660,000 hectares

The phenomenon hits European economies, which are already in a fragile state, imposes restrictions on access to water, threatens aquatic life and causes devastating fires. This summer, Europe has already lost 660,000 hectares, a record since 2006, when records of wildfires began. Moreover, the burn was not limited to the countries in the Mediterranean area as before, but also hit other areas, such as Germany or Slovenia.

From Romania to Germany and from Italy to the UK, drought has scorched the land and dried up rivers and streams.

Local: “I’ve never mentioned so little water in the Rhine before, it’s crazy.”

Local: “I was hearing about the drought in the southern countries. To see something like this in our country is terrifying.”

Bastian Klein, forecaster from the German Federal Institute of Hydrology: “Right now, the level of the Kaub River is 40 cm, instead of 150 cm, and it will probably drop further.”

Roberto Andreoni, tourist who owns a house on Lake Garda: “The water used to reach here, now it has receded 30 meters. This area was only visible from the boat.”

The level of the Rhine reached only 32 centimeters on Monday, five less than on Sunday

In Bingen, Germany, against the normal limit of 2 meters 80, the level of the Rhine reached only 32 centimeters on Monday, five less than on Sunday. Vessels carrying coal or oil can no longer navigate below 40 centimetres. Even boats designed for small waters can no longer circulate. Typically, the tower is in the middle of the river. It is now accessible by foot. Combined with excessive temperatures, shallow water leads to low oxygen levels and fish die by the thousands.

Thomas Norgall, BUND Hessen (Union for the Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity): “Fauna and flora will change completely, because animals that cannot cope with drought conditions will not survive.”

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The government has officially declared a drought in the UK

In the UK, the government has officially declared drought across most of the country and millions of people are no longer allowed to water their gardens. The ban affects another 15 million who live in the London suburbs.

Alan Goodman, local: “You turn on the faucet in the morning and nothing flows. At other times, the pressure is very low, you can’t take a shower, you can barely water the cattle”.

Cereal and vegetable crops suffer the most, but also herds of cattle or flocks of sheep.

Doreen Gurney, local: “During this drought we are forced to irrigate, but you can’t do it for more than 25 minutes, you stop for 90 minutes, until the water collects, and only then do you start again.”

AimHi Matthew Shribman, scientist and founder: “We’re taking water from the reservoirs that we’ll need in the future, but we’re still taking it, as if the future is a distant place we’ll never get to.”

Rafael Yus, ecologist: “It is imperative to convince farmers to find alternative solutions, recycling water, changing crops.”

Farmers in Spain have killed hundreds of trees because there is not enough water

In the south of Spain, the province of Malaga has the Vinuela reservoir, six kilometers long and 100 meters deep. It currently has only 12% of its normal water volume.

Alex Crowford, Sky News Correspondent: “Look at the state of the land, the crevasses are very deep and the water level is dropping at a frightening rate. Everything you see was under water in the past years. Environmental activists say it’s not just climate change that’s to blame, but also poor management of water resources and the fact that farmers have switched to crops that require much more water.”

Across the region, farmers have killed hundreds of mango and avocado trees because there isn’t enough water for them all. Olive and citrus groves are also very affected.

Northern Italy is experiencing a historic drought

And northern Italy is facing a historic drought. The tourists who came to Lake Garda, the largest in the country, had an unpleasant surprise.

Beatrice Masi, Italian tourist: “We went last year too, we liked it, so we came back, but we found the landscape very changed, we are shocked.”

Mario Treccani, owner of a lido on Lake Garda: “Boats can barely get out of the mud, tourists risk slipping on the rocks, and it’s much harder to rent sunbeds, because now people can sit by the water, like by the pool.”

Tourism is hit hard in France

Tourism is also hit hard in France. The Var and Provence regions were heaven for lovers of water sports, for example, canoeing and rafting.

Xavier Cheval, boat rental owner: “The water level is about 5-6 meters lower than last year. Since the beginning of July, the number of tourists has halved.”

Elena Sanchez, owner: “Water tourism used to bring 10,000 jobs here. What will happen to these people?”

Tourist: “It scares me to see the effects of climate change with my own eyes. Even where you don’t expect it.”

Source: PROTV news

Tags: drought, europe,

Publication date: 15-08-2022 19:36

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