Sunday, February 04, 2024

Let it rain - please!

It might seem strange to our friends and family in England who have suffered deluge after deluge this winter but we would really like some rain to fall here in Spain. 

Of course we don't want a storms like those in September last year and certainly not a repeat of the three days in September 2019 that caused widespread damage. 

In Alicante, we are not the worst off for lack of rain. 

After more than 1,000 days of drought, the Catalan government has formally announced a state of emergency, extending water restrictions to Barcelona and the surrounding region.

It is estimated that 500mm of rain needs to fall in Catalonia to make up the deficit. Water reserves have fallen below 16%, a level low enough to trigger the emergency declaration.

The drought is not confined to the north-east of Spain. In Andalucía, in southern Spain, two successive hot, dry summers have devastated the olive harvest, reducing production by 50% and doubling the price of olive oil. The grape harvest has also been poor in much of the country as even vines struggle to survive.

Tourist industry bosses say that while it’s easy to point the finger at golf courses and swimming pools, 80% of Spain’s water is consumed by agriculture.

Long before the climate crisis entered the equation, Spain was living beyond its means in terms of water, damming and diverting its few major rivers to irrigate the market gardens in the southern desert regions of Almería and Murcia.