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Historic drought that has affected Spain set to continue

The historic drought that has affected Spain for the past three years is set to continue for at least another six months, the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) has said.

Following the 2023-24 winter, which was the warmest on record in Spain, recent rainfalls have not been sufficient the ease the drought throughout the country, especially in the eastern and southern regions.

“We would need a great deal of rain, especially in Catalonia and other Mediterranean areas, for the drought to end, and it is unlikely to happen,” Aemet Spokesman Ruben del Campo told Xinhua.

Average water levels in reservoirs for human consumption and agriculture are at 46 percent, according to the Ministry for Ecological Transition, although the level is only at 15 percent in Catalonia in the northeast and at 20 percent in the Segura basin in Andalusia in the southeast.

Modest rainfall coupled with higher temperatures are prolonging the drought in many areas, which has “long-term impacts on ecosystems, on farming and ultimately on the country’s economy”, del Campo said.

“All the weather forecast models for the next few months agree that the spring will be warmer than usual and that in the summer, as in the past few years, Spain will again experience intense heat waves,” he said.

With an average temperature of 23.4 degrees Celsius, the summer of 2023 was the third hottest on record in Spain, after 2022 and 2003, the ministry said.

“Drought is nothing new, as Spain is a country that periodically experiences droughts, but climate change means that the droughts are longer and more intense,” del Campo said.

Famagusta Gazette