Monday, September 26, 2022

Drought hits record high and disrupts daily life in Europe

Paris.- Europe is dying not only of heat but of thirst as well. Weary watercourses, dry lakes, sun-burned crops, hundreds of communes without water, cruel The fire that claims lives and devours thousands of hectares Of the forests… frequent absence of rain and frequent heat waves that exceed 40 °C, with barely 10% humidity, More than half of the continent’s countries are suffering from unprecedented drought, forcing those responsible to take immediate measures. a Dramatic situation, which, according to experts, worsens.

,France is going through a historical situation […] An extraordinary drought. The most serious that our country has recorded so far,” Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne said last Friday while announcing the activation of an inter-ministerial crisis cell. In fact, finding a comparable heat requires going back to 1961. Last month, the country recorded less than 10 mm. Rainfall: 84 percent less than a normal year at the same time.

Cows in a drought-prone pasture in Mur-de-Barré, southern FranceLionel Bonaventure – AFP

For days, a hundred French communes they lack drinking waterwhen water tables are dry And the level of rivers and lakes across the country is falling alarmingly. As a result of the manifold increase of intense heat waves, the fire has already destroyed more than 43,000 hectares of forests. Between three and seven meters of eternal snow of the snowy peaks of the Alps have been lostThe wine harvest was brought forward several weeks to the south—with heavy losses due to labor shortages—and agricultural harvests were impossible in the rest of the country, as the grain died due to lack of irrigation. In May, the National Federation of Agricultural Producers’ Unions (FSNEA) warned that yield losses in the region could reach 40% if the situation persisted.

loss Effects of this Historic Dog Days They have affected all sectors of the national economy. Wheat shortage, which has led to a 20% drop in flour production since May, increased bread by 4.5% and pasta by 13%. The corn harvest had decreased by 18% compared to the previous year, with prices increasing by 17% in just one month. there is also a record Significant reduction in the production of dairy products And, therefore, significantly increasing prices, added to the risk of shortages.

“Due to drought, the yield was reduced by 20%. The cows have little food to eat in the fields and are not able to tolerate the heat well. Yes, it is possible that at this rate there will be a shortage of milk in France”, explains Benot Mandresi, president of La Latterie des Ardennes.

Even tourism has had to bear the brunt of it in the world’s most visited country. Thousands of travelers from the north of the continent decided to shorten their stay because of the scorching heat. Even those who thought about climbing the summit of Mont Blanc would not be able to do so, following the decision of local authorities to restrict access. TookDrought causes the fall of a large number of stones which represent the danger of death. Faced with the insolence of the rebel, the mayor of the commune of Saint-Gervais decided to demand a deposit of 15,000 euros: the average cost of a rescue operation in the mountains … “and a burial”, says the mayor.

People work to put out a fire near a house in Tabara, northwestern Spain.
People work to put out a fire near a house in Tabara, northwestern Spain.Burnt Armagu – Associated Press

But France is not alone. According to the European Commission (EC), 46% of the EU’s territory is at the “alert” level. That is, presenting a significant soil moisture deficiency. In fact, according to a report published last week, 11% of the area in the block will already be on alert. The situation is particularly worrying in France, Romania, West Germany, but also in Italy, Greece and the Iberian Peninsula.

“Although all the countries of the European Union suffer from drought, 50% of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean region live” water stress Stable during the summer, ”says meteorologist Francis Plön.

The current drought, which began at the beginning of the year, responds to a significant lack of rainfall. Between September 2021 and April 2022, there was 19% below average rainfall in areas placed at the “alert” level and 22% in alert conditions. The drought, precipitated by strong heat waves, hit the continent particularly early this year. According to experts, the situation is on the verge of getting worse.

People feel the chill in the Arga River, Pamplona, ​​northern Spain
People feel the chill in the Arga River, Pamplona, ​​northern SpainAlvaro Barrientos – Associated Press

Due to the lack of water, most European soils suffer. The moisture deficit has increased in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania compared to the situation in May-June. Germany and Poland also saw the situation worsen. Whereas in the south of the continent, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain were already in a predicament that only got worse. Holland, “land of water”, ruled at the beginning of the month “insufficiency of water” Officer.

While Great Britain, for its part, experienced the hottest and driest summer since 1935, and even the driest in history in the south of the country. Facing the unprecedented situation, several water distribution companies announced Sanctions which affects millions of people.

As in France, most European countries took emergency measures. Italy, Greece and Spain have reduced the air conditioning to 27°C. is limited to Administrative and commercial premises. It was made mandatory for everyone to keep their doors closed during business hours. One exception, however: “bars, restaurants and companies where work involves physical exercise will be able to maintain a temperature at 25 °C,” the Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transitions announced.

Dried sunflowers on a field in Saint-Siers-sur-Bonneur in southwestern France
Dried sunflowers on a field in Saint-Siers-sur-Bonneur in southwestern FrancePhilippe Lopez – AFP

Almost everyone has decreed Prohibition on filling water, washing vehicles and filling pools. Many governments have started spreading advertisements recommending that citizens “adopt the new customs.” This means collecting rainwater whenever possible, reducing shower time, turning off the tap while brushing teeth, not starting the dishwasher or washing machine until they are full of dishes or clothes. be.

But European leaders know that other structural measures will be necessary to deal with these extreme situations. Last week, the European Commission called on 27 member states to move forward in treating wastewater to reuse it in the agricultural sector. Brussels gave a figure to justify its gesture: more than 40,000 million cubic meters of wastewater are treated every year within the EU. But only 964 million are reused. i.e. less than 2.5%.

A sunbather drinks water on a drying bench in the Verdon Gorge in southern France, Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
A sunbather drinks water on a drying bench in the Verdon Gorge in southern France, Tuesday, August 9, 2022.Daniel Cole – Associated Press

However, for experts, this technology has great potential, but it is not being widely used. The champions in this case are Cyprus and Malta, which reuse 90% and 60% of their wastewater, respectively. Spain treats 19%; Italy, 8%, while France barely reaches 3%.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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