Spain’s prime minister warned lawmakers Wednes-day that the acute drought afflicting the southern European country has become one of its leading long-term concerns.
“The government of Spain and I are aware that the debate surrounding drought is going to be one of the central political and territorial debates of our country over the coming years,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told the Madrid-based Parliament.
The territorial tensions between regions over water that Sánchez referred to are already being seen in protests over the rerouting of water and disputes between farmers and ecologists.Three years of scant rainfall and high tempera-tures put Spain officially into long-term drought last month.
The national weather service said 2022 was the hottest year ever recorded, when average daily tem-peratures rose above 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time since records started in 1961. The country has warmed 1.3 degrees Celsius (34 F) since the 1960s, a warming that is noticeable all year round, but especially in summer when aver-age temperatures have risen by 1.6 degrees.
The Mediterranean region as a whole is warming faster than the global average because of climate change caused by the release of greenhouse gases, experts and authorities say.
And there is no sign of the situation in Spain improving over the coming weeks. That has led to water restrictions in the driest areas. Regional au-thorities in northeast Catalonia said this week that Barcelona and a wide surrounding area that’s home to around 6 million people could enter a drought “emergency” by September unless forecasts prove wrong.—AFP