Drought ‘drains reservoirs of almost all Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
drought concerns

MADRID – The Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, announced on Wednesday that the government will take ‘the necessary measures’ regarding the current drought in Spain if it does not rain in the next 14 days. Medium-term ‘restrictions’ are feared.  

Therefore, measures could be put in place after the next meeting of the European Union’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council. Furthermore, in a fortnight’ time, I have a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Brussels. Consequently, Spain will raise this issue there to make the Commission aware of it. Therefore, depending on the developments, we will then take the necessary measures,’ said Planas. He plans to make the government’s decisions dependent on weather developments over the next two weeks.  

65% of agricultural production in Spain is linked to irrigation 

‘I fully understand the concern, which I also have as a minister. There is a lack of precipitation and availability of water resources in many of Spain’s river basins. And, this, in turn, brings the resulting irrigation problems,’ the minister said. He pointed out that 65% of agricultural production in Spain is linked to irrigation. ‘Therefore, depending on the possibilities we have, we will have to act at some point,’ he added. 

Planas pointed out that both he and Portuguese Agriculture Minister Maria do Céu Antunes expressed their concerns to European Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski last Monday. This happened during an informal meeting of EU ministers. 

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‘Hopefully, it will rain and we will have a chance this spring to have the necessary water resources despite this situation of availability of water basins,’ Planas said.  

Long term vision 

Planas, who visited the Madrid town of Alcalá de Henares to learn about the local rich vegetation, stressed the need to ‘invest more in the modernisation of irrigation and renewable energy sources’ in the current context where scientific studies predict ‘a decrease in rainfall’ in the short and medium-term. ‘This is absolutely fundamental and we are working on it,’ he concluded. 

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