Up to 27 Million in Spain Face Water Shortages by 2050, Minister Warns

The southeast of Spain is at the highest risk. New investments in infrastructure and technology are critical to mitigating the impacts of the crisis.
Seville, Spain
Dec 7, 2021 2:42 PM EST
Paolo DeAndreis

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Southeastern Spain, which is home to some of the largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing provinces in the coun­try, is head­ing for a 40-per­cent reduc­tion in water resource avail­abil­ity by 2050, accord­ing to the Minister of Ecological Transition and Demographics.

Teresa Ribera said this fig­ure rep­re­sents a crit­i­cal decrease that is far worse than the 24-per­cent reduc­tion that the rest of the coun­try is expected to expe­ri­ence.

See Also: One-Fifth of Italy at Risk of Desertification, Irrigation Experts Warn

She also con­firmed that deser­ti­fi­ca­tion is rapidly expand­ing in the coun­try to the point that three-quar­ters of Spain might be at risk.

If no mea­sures are taken, 70 per­cent of the whole Spanish ter­ri­tory will be affected by droughts by 2050,” Ribera said, adding that up to 27 mil­lion Spanish cit­i­zens risk fac­ing water short­ages within the next three decades.

We are going to have to han­dle our­selves in extreme sce­nar­ios,” the min­is­ter told a gath­er­ing of local, national and European offi­cials in Alicante.

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According to Ribera, the next decade will present chal­lenges that will require the imple­men­ta­tion of entirely new mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion strate­gies that have not been laid out in pre­vi­ous strate­gic plans.

The min­is­ter warned of a sce­nario influ­enced by sud­den floods alter­nat­ing with max­i­mum droughts.” She also stressed how the very sig­nif­i­cant impacts of cli­mate change that are to be expected require a per­ma­nent review of the infra­struc­tures which will be nec­es­sary to address the sit­u­a­tion.”

See Also: Olive Oil Production in Spain Expected to Fall, Officials Say

Ribera also empha­sized the impor­tance of imme­di­ate action to guar­an­tee seam­less dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity among Spanish water­sheds, which will require a sub­stan­tial upgrade to exist­ing infra­struc­ture and cur­rently poses a major chal­lenge for the south­east of the coun­try, which includes parts of Andalusia.

Along with improv­ing the con­nec­tiv­ity between Spanish water­sheds, Ribera also called for more water recy­cling, desalin­iza­tion and larger con­tri­bu­tions to the national water­sheds from rivers.

Other mit­i­ga­tion actions will also include grow­ing crops that are more resilient to the impacts of cli­mate change, new infra­struc­ture to pre­vent flood­ing and more water-effi­cient sys­tems.





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