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The Mediterranean in drought


Written by Arthur Maffren on Tuesday, July 5th 2022 à 17:41 | Read 359 times


Drought is hitting the western Mediterranean this year, with greatly increased risk of fires everywhere, and in the worst affected countries a drop in harvests and a threat to drinking water supplies.


Drought becomes structural in Morocco (photo: MIPA)
Drought becomes structural in Morocco (photo: MIPA)
MEDITERRANEAN. Italy has just declared a state of emergency in five northern regions (Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont). The Po Valley is experiencing its worst drought in 70 years. The water level of the large lakes in the north is at its lowest. Some municipalities have already started to limit the consumption of drinking water. One third of the country's agricultural production is threatened.

In France, the June storms caused damage but reduced water stress. Only the Mediterranean and Eastern regions are experiencing an alarming situation. In Corsica and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, the average rainfall over the first six months of the year remains well below average. PACA has just experienced its driest six months since 1959.
The forest fire season has already started in Spain. The country is entering the summer with water reserves at only 46% of capacity, when they should normally be 65% at this time of year. "Spain and Portugal are enduring the worst drought in at least 1,200 years," reads the headline in Géo magazine. Portugal has just experienced its hottest month of May for 92 years, with a rainfall deficit of 87%. 97% of the country is under "severe drought".

The situation on the southern shore of the Mediterranean is more varied. With a rainfall deficit of 40%, Morocco is experiencing a dramatic drought which will result in significant reductions in agricultural yields. The dams are only 33% full. Many municipalities will lack drinking water. Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt have benefited from spring rains that are saving the season. Agricultural production will be the same or even higher than in 2021. 



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