Spain’s drought worries continue as winter rainfall was less than normal


THE MINISTER for Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environmental Affairs, Isabel García Tejerina, explained that the accumulated amount of rainfall since 1 October is 13% less than normal.

Furthermore, this reduction is not distributed evenly and is more severe in the Duero river basin, at a level of 42% and in areas where rainfall is traditionally high, such as Galicia and the Cantabrian Coast.

This deficit, she added, is lowering the water reserves, which stand at 57.2%, while the average for the last five years stands at 74.8% and for the last 10 years at 70.6%.

The latest assessment of the indicators shows that the Segura river basin is in an emergency situation and the Duero and Júcar river basins in a severe situation.

The Minister highlighted that these three river basins are those that meet the requirements to set in motion the measures pushed through last Friday, which will be extended to any other river basin that finds itself in the same situation.

She also specified the initiatives adopted in recent years in the Segura and Júcar river basins, when a drought was declared in 2015, in order to minimise the social, economic and environmental impact. In the case of the Segura, the government approved exceptional measures that allowed more than 250 additional cubic hectometres to be mobilised without any restrictions on irrigation.

In addition, more than 13 emergency works were carried out, with an investment in excess of €35m. As regards the Júcar, almost 30 cubic hectometres were mobilised and a further €20m invested in more than 10 emergency projects.

These actions are in addition to those contained in the Royal Decree-Law approved last Friday. Given the situation of a lack of rainfall the necessary conditions exist to approve an exemption on the payment of fees and tariffs related to the availability of water resources.