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How drought is affecting water supplies and the Spanish economy

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Drought is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing Spain today. The country has experienced a decrease in rainfall in recent decades, which has led to an increasingly prolonged and worrying drought.

Many regions of Spain have been affected in recent years by drought, such as Catalonia, Andalusia and Murcia. In these areas, the lack of water is a constant concern for those people who dedicate themselves to agriculture and cattle raising, since the lack of water and rainfall not only affects crops, but also threatens their lifestyle and the health of fauna.

The impact that the drought has had on agriculture has been significant, since It is one of the main industries of the country. This lack of water has caused a significant reduction in crop yields, causing an increase in production costs and decreasing profitability for farmers. This has also affected their value in international markets, which have slowly lost interest in these products and have sought alternatives in which their benefits remain the same. To this, we must add increased soil erosion and desertification, significantly affecting the quality of land for agriculture.

In several regions of the country, the competent authorities have had to impose restrictions in water consumption to avoid shortages in watering gardens, filling swimming pools and washing cars, as well as a ban on certain commercial activities that require large amounts of water. However, the latter has been controversial, since there are many communities that during Christmas made use of water - knowing the scarcity situation - to create natural ice rinks.

The environment and biodiversity have also been affected due to lack of rain well has led to a decrease in the flow of rivers, streams and swamps, thus affecting the fauna and flora that depend on them ecosystems. Sau's swamp, in Catalonia, and the Doñana Park, in Andalusia, have been directly affected by the drought, putting them in the spotlight both in Spain and in the rest of Europe.

We must take into account that drought is a complex phenomenon that does not have a simple solution, especially when it comes to climatic factors such as lack of rainfall. However, there are several strategies that can be implemented to reduce the impact of drought and ensure an adequate supply of water.

In the case of Spain, the government has implemented a series of measures to help conserve and manage water, such as the construction of infrastructures for its management, the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices and the awareness of public about the importance of responsible use of water. In fact, some educational centres, such as the CEIP Manuel Llano in Cantabria and the CEIP Camino Largo in the Canary Islands, they have been awarded for promoting sustainable development.

Drought cannot be solved without rain, nor without responsible water management. That is why it’s crucial to encourage research and development of new technologies and practices that can help cope with drought, such as the desalination of seawater and the use of treated wastewater for agricultural purposes.

The solution to this problem requires an approach comprehensive and sustainable process that involves all stakeholders, including the farmers, winners, communities, authorities and companies. It is important to work together to protect and preserve water resources for future generations.

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