Europe’s most severe drought in decades is hitting homes, factories, farmers and freight across the continent, as experts warn drier winters and searing summers fueled by global heating mean water shortages will most likely become “the new normal,” as Jon Henley and Guardian correspondents report in this news article.
The EU European Drought Observatory has calculated that 45% of the bloc’s territory was under drought warning by mid-July, with 15% already on red alert, prompting the European Commission to warn of a “critical” situation in multiple regions.
Conditions have deteriorated since as repeated heatwaves roll across the continent. In France, the prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, last week activated a crisis unit to tackle a drought Météo-France described as the country’s worst since records began in 1958.
Spain’s water reserves are at all-time low of 40%. This year is also set to become the hottest and driest ever recorded in Italy. The drought has hit German waterways seriously. The Netherlands declared an official water shortage last week. In neighbouring Belgium, meanwhile, forecasters reported the driest July since 1885.
Source: The Guardian. Reporting by Stephen Burgen in Barcelona, Angela Giuffrida in Rome, Philip Oltermann in Berlin and Jennifer Rankin in Brussels. Read the full story and watch a video here
Photo: A photo taken with a drone shows the dry bed of the Po River between Parma and Reggio Emilia, Italy, in mid-July. Photograph credit: Andrea Fasani/EPA