France economy

Droughts prompt cut water use amid crop fears

With the prolonged lack of rain and high temperatures, fears have arisen of water shortages and droughts reducing crop yields, prompting the use of less water and the reuse of urban wastewater for agriculture. agricultural irrigation.

The European Commission on Wednesday (3 August) urged EU member states to reuse water from urban treatment plants for crops.

“Freshwater resources are scarce and increasingly under pressure,” EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said in a statement.

“In times of unprecedented temperature spikes, we need to stop wasting water and use this resource more efficiently to adapt to climate change and ensure the security and sustainability of our agricultural supply,” he added.

Last month, researchers from the commission said nearly half (46%) of the EU was at ‘warning’ drought levels.

France and parts of England recorded the driest July on record, raising alarm bells over the impact of widespread droughts on agricultural production and water shortages in urban areas .

UK water suppliers have resisted government calls for water restrictions, preferring to wait until the last minute to introduce temporary bans on excessive water use to avoid irritating consumers, reported The Guardian.

Despite widespread concerns about rivers drying up, water companies do not see “the current risks to essential water supplies”, a government spokesman said.

According to Météo France, the country recorded only 9.7 millimeters of rain last month, which represents “12% of the needs”, said the French Minister of the Environment, Christophe Bechu.

Nearly every region in France has imposed water restrictions, but farmers are struggling to cope with limits on freshwater use as crops such as sunflowers and large swaths of lavender die due to of drought.

A similar scenario can be found in Spain where droughts prompted farmers in the southern region of Andalusia to cut avocado plantations and reduce table olive production.

Many Spanish regions have implemented restrictions on water consumption, including nightly supply cuts, closing showers on beaches and bans on filling swimming pools and washing cars.

Water reservoirs in Spain were at 40% capacity at the end of July, the lowest level in a decade.

Lack of rainfall and high temperatures also affected crop yields in Portugal, Croatia and Romania.

The Dutch government officially declared a water shortage on Wednesday, considering further measures if droughts continue.

“I ask everyone to think twice before washing the car or completely filling a paddling pool,” said Dutch Infrastructure Minister Mark Harbers.

Meanwhile, water levels in the Rhine are approaching a record high, causing problems for navigation and crop irrigation.