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    Drought prompts Spain to think about rational use of water resources

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    Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, August 9 (Xinhua) — Spain has experienced multiple rounds of heat waves this summer, triggering droughts. The “historic drought” has prompted people to think about how to use water wisely.

    Extraordinary drought

    Spanish Minister of Ecological Transition Teresa Rivera recently talked And the impact of the lack of precipitation must be “extremely careful” and cannot be ignored.

    Agence France-Presse reported on the 8th that after an “abnormally dry” winter, Spain has been hit by multiple heat waves this summer. That left Spain’s national reservoirs at just 40.4% of their capacity in August, 20 percentage points lower than the average for the same period over the past decade.

    The drought was particularly severe in the Andalusia region of southern Spain. Most of the reservoirs there are only 25% full, and water is already limited.

    Rosario Jiménez, a professor of hydrology at the University of Jaén in Spain, said that the water level in both the underground aquifers and surface water bodies is low and “the situation is very serious”. In her view, this is part of a long-term trend in climate change.

    A study published in July in the British “Nature Geoscience” suggested that parts of Spain experienced a “once in a thousand years” drought, which is related to an atmospheric high pressure system exacerbated by climate change.

    Greenpeace estimates that 75% of Spain is vulnerable to desertification.

    1,200 dams were built in Spain in the last century, forming large dam systems to supply water to farms and towns. According to Agence France-Presse, Spain has the highest number of dams per capita in Europe.

    Thanks to the dam system, the irrigated area of ​​Spanish farmland has increased from 900,000 hectares to 3.4 million hectares, according to the website of the Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition.

    However, some experts believe that the limitations of this water management system are emerging.

    Julio Barrea, a water expert at Greenpeace, said the dam system was “useful” but contributed to overuse of water and hindered the natural flow of rivers, leading to a decline in water quality.

    Spain’s water management model is approaching a “physical ceiling”, a French scientific committee of hydrologists said in a recent report. The dam system relies on abundant precipitation to replenish reservoirs, but the effects of climate change are already being felt, and the risk of this system failing will increase.

    Barrea said: “Water is getting scarcer and water consumption is increasing. This is not normal.”

    Adjust water

    Spain is a big tourist country and a lot of water resources are used for tourism infrastructure. However, agricultural water is still the bulk of Spain’s water consumption, accounting for more than 80%.

    Some crops that Spain exports to other European countries are not suitable for dry climates, such as strawberries and avocados, Agence France-Presse reported.

    Julia Martínez, an NGO that promotes sustainable water management in the Iberian Peninsula, believes that irrigation in Spanish agriculture is “irrational” and that “when the population is short of water, We cannot act as a vegetable garden for Europe.”

    The Spanish government in July implemented a strategic plan to adapt water management systems to the effects of global warming. The plan includes measures to promote the water cycle and the “efficient and rational” use of water resources.

    Some hydrologists believe that Spain needs to reform its agricultural system. Martinez said: “There are some decisions no one wants to make today, but we can’t continue to move forward blindly.”

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