DROUGHT conditions coupled with a lack of irrigated water threaten 35,800 hectares of crops in the Alicante province.
Despite having some areas where the amount of rainfall is equivalent to that of Galica, the countryside has lost 40 per cent of its fertile land in the last decade, and a number of farmers have warned that the fact they’re only irrigating their land with only a third of the required amount of water, the size of the fruit harvested has reduced.
The current drought suffered by Spain as a whole – a repeat of the one that hit the peninsula between 1993 and 1996 – is not that unexpected as it seems to hit the country every 20 to 25 years. For the Alicante province, it happens every 10 years which makes it even harder for experts to understand why because of the two types of climate experienced from areas geographically so close together.
As an example, up to 1,600 litres of rain per square metre fell in the last 12 months from the Sierra de Bèrnia in the north where it’s classed as a humid Mediterranean climate, compared with a point in Orihuela – a semi-desert climate – with only 150 litres, and has led to this current potential agricultural disaster.