Almost half of the territory of the European Union (EU) is “at risk” of suffering drought after a prolonged lack of rainfall, the European Commission announced on Monday, just at a time when the continent is hit by a heat wave.
Nearly 46% of the EU territory is exposed to levels of drought considered to be at riskwhich means a significant deficit of soil moisture, indicated the Joint Research Center (JRC for its acronym in English) in its July report.
A 11% are at alert levelwith vegetation and crops weakened by lack of water, added the report of that service of the European Union.
“France, Romania, Spain, Portugal and Italy will probably have to deal with a drop in crop productivity,” especially from cereals, generated by the “water and thermal stress”stressed the Community Executive.
For their part, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia have also been affected, while the Po basin in Italy “is facing the highest level of severe drought” in the EU, due to “intense drought”. ” declared in five Italian regions, assured the European Commission.
The situation is also difficult in the Iberian Peninsulawhere the “conditions conducive to forest fires”the experts from the Joint Research Center add in their note.
“In Spain, the volumes of water stored in reservoirs are currently 31% below the average for the last decade.”
The western part of the old continent is suffering the fierce effects of the heat wave in this summer period, the spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Clare Nullis, warned at a press conference, noting that Italy is already facing its worst drought in decades.
The spokeswoman warned of the dangers that water scarcity presents for agriculture and the conservation of the ecosystem and recommended some precautionary measures such as hydrating regularly and not practicing sports in the hottest hours.
LOWER WHEAT PRODUCTION
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) cut its global wheat production forecast due to drought in Europe and a smaller harvest in Ukraine, according to its monthly report.
The USDA forecasts 771.6 million tonnes of wheat for the 2022/23 crop year, up from 773.4 estimated last month. If confirmed, the figure would be lower than the 2020/21 (775) and 2021/22 (779) seasons.
The revision is due to the drop of 2 million tons in the volume of production expected in the European Union and the fact that “dry weather has lowered yield projections for Spain, Italy and Germany”says the report.
It also lowered its production estimate for Ukraine, also by 2 million tonnes, due to a drop in areas harvested by the war.
As of mid-June, Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry had forecast a production of 18-20 million tons of wheat, while the USDA expects 19.5 million against a previous forecast of 21.5 million tons.
(with information from AFP and EFE)
They warn that due to global warming there will be more storms, harsh winters and droughts in Europe and the east coast of the United States
Alert in the European summer: emergency measures due to extreme heat, drought and gigantic forest fires