Drought over in half of Spain

Spain's two-year drought was declared over in the West half of the country this week after two months of heavy rain, while Mediterranean regions remained dry, the country's meteorological service has said.

In regions bordering on the Atlantic in the West, rains have restored reservoir levels to over 80% in places after a prolonged period of drought that left farmers with no irrigation and hosepipe bans across the country.

This contrasts with Mediterranean regions where reservoirs are still under 15% full – as low as 11.1% in Segura and 13.2% in Jucar – the Spanish Environment Agency said.

The rains in the West helped reverse a severe drought, with reservoirs on average 55% full across the country, up from 39% in October, following a total of 222 mm of rain since October 1st.

But Spain’s environment minister Cristina Narbona warned that the drought is not over: “It is still possible that restrictions on irrigation remain in the Guadalquivir basin,” because “it rained a lot more downstream from Seville towards the coast than upstream, between Seville and the river source.

“The real crisis is around the region of Valencia, in Murcia and around the source of the Tajo river,” she said.

“An important geographical region continues to suffer the third consecutive year of drought,” she said.

The rain has brought relief to farmers in the West of the country, deprived of irrigation and bound by hosepipe bans as the drought persisted in the summer months.

It also brought hydroelectric reservoir levels up, with power plants, mostly located in the North West, now back to normal working capacity.

Hydroelectric reservoirs are now almost 80% full, Spanish authorities said.

Goska Romanowicz

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