The Spanish government has announced a package of measures worth almost 2.2 billion euros to combat the intense drought in the country and its consequences for the productive sector. Nearly 1.4 billion will be used to increase water availability, while more than 780 million will help farmers and ranchers. The government has stated that these measures are urgent in response to worsening conditions in the primary sector due to the war in Ukraine and the drought in Spain, which is among the worst on record.
Investment to increase access to water will be used to build new infrastructure, such as desalination plants, and to double urban water reuse while reducing the tariff paid by producers for access to water. Aid to farmers will be used to subsidize up to 70% of the cost of drought insurance policies, as crop damage due to a lack of water is estimated at more than 300 million euros this year.
The government made these announcements before the May 28 municipal and regional elections, in which drought and water availability in the country have been key issues. Spain has experienced the driest first four-month period since records began in 1961, with less than half the usual rainfall for the season. The country’s reservoirs, which store rainwater for use in the drier months, are currently at 48.9% of their capacity, according to data from the Ministry for Ecological Transition.
Spain faces a risk of desertification in 75% of the country, according to the UN. The country is on the front lines in the face of climate change and has experienced in recent years a multiplication of heat waves with increasingly scarce and irregular rainfall. The opposition has accused the government of wanting to “cheat” producers before the elections after its “negligence” in dealing with the drought so far.
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