What can Spain do about water shortages?

Spain is facing severe drought. Precipitation over the past twelve months was 25 percent, and in some regions even 50 percent, below the long-term average. Climate experts fear the water shortages will intensify. Commentators call for swift but far-sighted action.

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El Mundo (ES) /

Invest and create a legal framework

El Mundo calls for a comprehensive plan for the future:

“It is estimated that more than a third of the water reserves are at risk of being exhausted due to overexploitation, illegal extraction or chemical contamination. ... We need to invest in water recycling technologies, an area in which places like California or Israel excel. ... And the need to modernise the outdated infrastructure cannot be ignored. ... More than 16 percent of the water that is delivered to Spanish municipalities is lost due to leaks. ... All this and other potential solutions such as asking Europe to supply Spain with water from less drought-prone regions require a solid political and legal framework which is currently conspicuous by its absence.”

El Diario de Sevilla (ES) /

Agriculture sector is being sorely neglected

El Diario de Sevilla makes the case for building more dams:

“Some of the measures against the construction of reservoirs have a detrimental impact on the environment. Not building the Alcolea dam, for example, means that strawberry farmers will continue to extract groundwater from Doñana National Park. Nothing but obstacles are being put in the way of the rural sector, when in fact it could help to combat inflation. It lacks electricity and hydraulic infrastructure. ... It's no wonder the rural exodus is so pronounced in Spain. And we have yet to talk about hydroelectric power, the cleanest form of energy. Spain has 1,300 water power plants with a capacity of about 18,000 megawatts, which is 18 percent of the total capacity. This sector has been stagnating for some time because no more dams are being built.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Prepare to get by with less

Cutting water consumption is the top priority, admonishes La Vanguardia:

“What are the authorities waiting for? The later we start to cut consumption, the worse the consequences of this drought will be. Appealing to people to cut down is no longer enough. In view of the history of cyclical droughts on the Iberian Peninsula and the climate change that has already begun, it is necessary - and crucial - to promote with increased determination a new water culture in all areas of activity. We must prepare ourselves to live with less water, because it will become increasingly scarce and expensive.”