Spain invests €12 billion into battling drought crisis
Having seen a 28% drop in rainfall since last year, Spain will release drought relief funds worth billions, says its Environment Minister.
On Tuesday, the Environment Minister for Spain announced urgent measures that will see the country’s government plough €12 billion into tackling the long-standing drought that has hit the nation’s agricultural sector hard.
According to the Coordinator of Farmers’ and Ranchers’ Organizations (COAG), the drought has destroyed crops across 3.5 million hectares.
In addition to the €12 billion, the government will spend a further €3 billion on “boosting digitalisation to better manage water resources” through the use of new technologies.
The response comes after €1.4 billion of funds, released in April 2023, failed to stem the problem.
“We require structural responses and constant investment,” Teresa Ribera, Environment Minister, said during a news conference this week.
Much of the latest round of funds will be used to improve water infrastructure, and build de-salination plants. However, developing technology will play a key part in battling the drought.
Earlier this year, Ribera said that the government needed to “take advantage of all the technical capacity that Spain has accrued and developed over many years” in order to deal with such climatic episodes.
Spain registered the driest start to a year in the first four months of 2023 since records began in the 1960s, with Catalonia in the north and Andalusia in the south being worst affected.
Since the drought began in January 2022, a state of drought emergency has been declared in 24 municipalities across Catalonia, where water has become so scarce that local authorities have been forced to cut water use by 80% in agriculture and by 25% for industrial uses.
The average resident of Spain has been urged to cut their average daily water supply from 250 litres to 200 litres.