THE never ending drought conditions across the country as a whole has resulted in a 50% capacity in 19 Spanish rivers. Three of them, the Duero, Segura and Júcar are especially low and causing concern.
Spain has seen worst drought levels since the turn of the century – 2012 has been the highest to date – but according to Environment Minister Isabel Tejerina there are some individual rivers that are running drier than they’ve ever been.
The Segura, which wends its way through the Murcia and into the south of the province of Alicante – it meets the sea at Guardamar – is only 23.43% full. Close behind is the Júcar that runs through Valencia and stands at 33.59%; lower than last year at this time when emergency levels were reported.
The biggest drop is in the River Duero, through Castilla y León and into Portugal – where it becomes the River Douro – where the amount of water has plummeted from 85.28% a year ago to only 44.12% today.
Even though Spain is by tradition a dry country, the Mediterranean coast can usually rely on the annual four or five day gota frías when monsoon conditions sweep through in autumn or spring and top up rivers and reservoirs. These have been few and far between in recent years and are believed to be a result of global warming and the movement north of the weather systems.
The minister has assured people that tap water is “guaranteed” for everyone in the country but warns that for the future this will always depend on the amount of rainfall.
However, in the last two years, supplies of tap water have been cut off in some towns in Spain for several hours a day, and in some northern parts of the Alicante province, residents had no water for up to 12 hours a day, particularly those whose population increases in summer with tourists and part-time residents.