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Spain Sees Worst Drought in 150 Years

Source: - Mon 19th May 2014
Spain Sees Worst Drought in 150 Years

A drought of the scale not seen in over a century and a half is threatening water resources in Spain's south and east after the lowest rainfall on record over the autumn, winter and spring.

The worst-hit provinces are Valencia and Alicante where, following a sudden and unprecedented gota fría in late August, it has barely rained between September and June.

Murcia, Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel, Cádiz, Málaga, Jaén and Almería are also at high risk – the only provinces in Andalucía which are safe are Granada, Sevilla and Huelva.

Rain in Valencia and Alicante has been the lowest since records began in the year 1864 and, although the forecast this week was for torrential downpours across most of the mainland, the south-east is expected to escape altogether.

Reservoirs in affected areas are sitting at between 74 - 90% of their capacity, and the river Júcar, which supplies much of the water to the Comunidad Valenciana, is currently at 54%.

Even if domestic water supply is not threatened, crops are suffering or have died out altogether.

Whilst the eastern regions have only seen between 25 - 50% of their average rainfall between 2013 and now, much of the west and north of the mainland has abundant levels of water resources due to exceptionally-high rainfall over the last year.

In fact, during the second-driest period in weather data history, it rained twice as much in the regions of Valencia and Murcia as it did in late 2013 and early 2014.

Of the 187 water courses studied by the Higher Centre for Scientific Research (CSIC), the most intense and longest droughts – those lasting more than 5 years – are the rivers Tajo, Júcar, Guadiana and Guadalquivir, which are mostly in the south and east.

And moderately-serious droughts are tending to affect a larger area of land, says the CSIC.

Recommended Reading :

* Spain sees 3rd wettest Autumn this century [2012]

* Spain sees wettest March on record [2013]

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