EDO: 60% of Europe facing drought warning or alerts
The European Drought Observatory's information comes at a time when the global food crisis intensifies.
The European Drought Observatory declared 60% of the EU and the UK areas under warning or alerts of drought. A 10-day period data compilation found that the area covered by the declaration is divided into 45% of the land is covered by "warning", whereas 15% is under "alert".
The areas warned suffer from a deficit of moisture in the soil while those under alert risk stressed vegetation. The European Drought Observatory information coincided with information relayed by Copernicus, the EU's climate monitoring agency, which said that Europe experience a drier-than-average July, with multiple low rainfall record breaks in the West while drought-hit various parts in southern Europe.
Those conditions, according to the report, made it easier for wildfires to spread and intensify. Furthermore, the analysis also comes as regions of Europe experience excessive heat waves in what is expected to be one of the continent's warmest summers on record.
The information comes at a time when the global food crisis intensifies despite the Ukrainian grain shipments following the grain agreement signed in Turkey under UN mediation. Extreme weather and supply chain problems played a role in deepening the crisis.
In a recent analysis, the Joint Research Centre, the research arm of the European Commission, predicted that the EU's production of grain crops including soybeans, sunflowers, and maize will fall by 8 to 9% this year, significantly below the five-year average.
Copernicus Senior Scientist Freja Vamborg said that "dry conditions from previous months combined with high temperatures and low precipitation rates seen in many areas during July may have adverse effects on agricultural production and other industries such as river transport and energy production."
"Worst drought this century"
Portugal, where temperatures yet again breached the 40°C mark this week, is experiencing "the worst drought this century," Environment Minister Jose Duarte Cordeiro warned last month.
Portugal along with Poland has asked its citizens to cut down on water use to ease the pressure.
Water authorities across Europe are not prepared
"Water authorities across Europe are unprepared for what scientists have been saying for three decades," said Dasgupta. "A high incidence of heatwaves will hit water supply."
In an updated assessment last month, the European Commission found that nearly half - 44% - of the EU and Britain were currently experiencing "warning" levels of drought.
It warned that exceptional low soil moisture levels meant that several countries, including France, Romania, Spain, Portugal, and Italy will experience reduced crop yield in 2022.
"The unfavourable forecasts for the coming months may compromise the water supply and will likely keep the competition for this resource high," it said.
On Wednesday, Virginijus Sinkevicius, EU commissioner for the environment, fisheries, and the oceans, urged EU nations to re-use more of their wastewater.
"We need to stop wasting water and use this resource more efficiently to adapt to the changing climate and ensure the security and sustainability of our agricultural supply," he stressed.
Read more: Drought forces water restriction in Spain