by Taetske | 5:51 pm
(Last Updated On: September 17, 2019)

 

The water shortage in Spain is getting critical

 

Trees and beautiful lake

Trees and beautiful Lake

 

Some information on the water situation in Spain

Today I want to write about the water situation in Spain. I came across an article (which I had saved) that forced me to realize the situation is getting worse. The article is from 9 December 2017 and it caught my attention at the time, so I saved it in my file and today, it inspired me to write a post.

I came to Spain in 1975 and moved to my organic farm in 1981. I have seen how the weather has changed. The winters are kind of warm with a midday temperature of 20C and then summer comes and the temperature rises. The autumn and spring are really short lived and you hardly notice them.

 

Having your own water is a blessing

I am lucky that I have my own water wells. One source is a drilled well for domestic use and the other is a large dug well owned by my neighbor that I have irrigation rights to. His property and mine were originally owned by one family and now his ecological avocado farm surrounds my property on 3 sides.

Over the years I have become conscious that having water is of utmost importance. Luckily I have what one calls a mature garden. I started planting it so many years ago and the trees have grown big and provide shade in many places, which is beneficial for the smaller plants growing below the trees.

 

Grapevine with irrigation system

Grapevine with irrigation system

 

Training my garden to survive on little water

More than 30 years ago, I trained my garden to be happy with a hand water ration every second week. My flower pots get watered once a week. As plants have a certain type of intelligence they go deeper with their roots and survive very well. It takes a 7-hour day to water the forest of trees I have cultivated and then 1 more hour for the patio.

The 100 orange trees I have are on a separate field, south of the house, and are hooked up on a drip system. During the “winter” (or should I say the not-summer season), the irrigation system is not needed. The other 7-8 months of the year, I water these orange trees 3 times a week and each time they get 5 to 6 hours of water with this system. Of course, it is very dependant on the rainfall when the irrigation system has to be started.

By the end of the summer, you can clearly see they are kind of exhausted and absolutely enjoy the first good rain which might come in October. If we are lucky, we get rain in September as well. That means that from March, or at the latest April, the drip system is being used. I have come across this new type of irrigation drip system which can save 20% more.

 

 

Spain has one of the cheapest water bills

Spain has around 1300 water reservoirs spread over the country and the water bill presented to its citizens is one of the lowest in Europe. Around 85% of the available water is used for agriculture and livestock. These last 20 years, the water requirements for the country have only increased by 20%.  On the other hand, around 25% of the available water is lost through cracks in its deteriorating distribution system. A system that is in serious need of repair.

 

 

 Experts came together to talk about this situation

Ernesto  Tejedor, investigator of the Climate Group of the Zaragoza University found out that 8 of the 10 driest years happened in this past half-century. This study evaluated tree rings in forests of the Turolense Iberian System.

Mr. Tejero pointed out that as temperatures rise because of Climate Change, there will still be evaporation. This suggests that even if it would rain the same as it does presently, we still would have less water due to the increased evaporation rates.  Another factor affecting water supply is that there are more people and more tourists which demand water. Putting these 2 factors together it is understandable Spain is in a water crisis.

Climate Change is real and affecting Spain, says Ana Casals. The country is influenced by the Oscillation of the North Atlantic (NAO) which significantly affects the volume, frequency, and duration of rainfall on the Iberian peninsula. It sometimes happens that an anticyclone from the Azores hinders the bad weather from coming more to the south and Spain does not get rain.

The natural pattern of the NAO has not been studied enough to really understand how it functions but it seems clear that climate change influences it. It so happens that the north of Europe is wetter than normal and in the south, it is drier.

 

Zamora and the river Duero

Zamora and the river Duero

 

Ecologist Julio Barea says that to manage drought you have to start when you still have water. A real drought is sure to come, so politicians, authorities and the public, in general, have to be made aware of the seriousness of this national problem. There are 1 million illegal wells, which should be closed. Laws should be updated on this subject. As the saying goes, water belongs to everybody and one should not waste it. The fact that around 25% of the available water is lost through an inadequate system of distribution makes one think.

In the south, many farmers have changed to drip systems and that does help. But when these savings are used to amplify the export possibilities by the big companies, it does not help. It appears that there are 3.5 million hectares in cultivation, which need watering and that is getting to be too much.

The system of bringing water long distance is not the solution. Desalination facilities are very costly, so one should learn to waste less. It starts with education within the family and schools. It should be a collaboration to educate all, starting with the children, about the need and importance of water.

The price in Spain, depending on where you live, of course, is approximately Euros 2.18 per cubic meter. In Denmark, it seems to be like Euro 7 per cubic meter. Because it is relatively cheap here does not mean we should waste it.

 

Sleet weather

Sleet Weather

 

Sometimes people come up with crazy ideas. Like building the biggest artificial beach of Europe in Alovera, in the province of Guadalajara which is an extremely dry place. To have golf courses where it is very dry is neither a good idea and only acceptable if it is watered with recycled water. Still, it seems when recycled water is used one tends to over water. Neither should one wish for big fields of corn as that is a crop which requires a big amount of water.

When one realizes there are 2000 million people in the world who have very limited access to clean drinking water and have to walk hours to go and fetch it, perhaps then we will start treating water with more respect.

 

Water down the drain

Water down the drain

 

Conclusion

Education starts at home. When you brush your teeth, no need to keep the water running. This applies to washing your hands as well. Taking a shower would save quite a bit of water if you wet yourself first, turn the water off, soap and then rinse yourself.

You can put a building block in the water tank of your toilet and when buying a new toilet opt for the type which has both, a small and big flush. Train your garden to a scarcer water program. You do this when the water season starts like March or April. Your garden will understand and adapt.

When I was in Florida, my friend watered her big flower pots every day and I was really surprised. Especially when in Florida the humidity is a lot higher than here. Your car does not need a wash every week, just keep the windows clean.  If we all do our bit the drought will appear later than expected. I think that is a very valid reason to start saving water today.

 

Source: Sur Newspaper, Article of 9 December 2017 by Joseba Vazquez

Photo Source: Pixabay

 

Our Planet needs help. There are so many things which need improvement. Perhaps you are interested to read the following post.

80 Solutions Global Warming, hope for our Planet

Comments

mjds

Hmmm . Merci d’avoir attirer nos attention sur la Bonne utilisation de l’eau auquelles nous avons access. Vraiment d’autres ont besoin d’eau pour s’abreuver et Marche des km pour en trouver. Peut etre meme pas en Bonne etat ou sale mais l’utilise comme ca. J’en ai fai l’experience. On doit vraiment prendre soon de l’eau et trouve des moyens pour l’avoir pour nous et Les autres.

Jul 01.2019 | 06:38 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning,

    In 1968 I studied French for 8 months in Rambouillet near Paris. Afterward, I moved to Italy and stayed there for 5 years. In 1974 I came to Spain and have lived here ever since. I am sorry but cannot write French anymore but understood your comment very well.

    You had the experience to have to walk many miles for water? That is hard and something we in our country find difficult to imagine as we only have to open the tap and water comes out.

    Thank you for stopping by and your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    Regards, Taetske  

    Jul 02.2019 | 06:46 am

Todd Matthews

I had to laugh a little when I read that autumn and spring were short-lived in the area; it’s the same case where I live over in the Pittsburgh, PA region in the US. Fall and spring confine themselves to about a month each! On a serious note, it seems Spain is indeed in a water crisis and I agree that education starts in the household. I love the techniques you outlined and it’s clear that we simply take water for granted. I’ve always been one looking to save water, especially since when I was just starting out a few years ago my income was crazy limited so I looked for such strategies to save on the water bill, something that over time has been ingrained in me. 

Jul 01.2019 | 06:48 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning Todd,

    Thank you for your visit and leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    These days many European countries have suffered the African heatwave. Temperatures in the middle and north of Spain went up to 44C. As I live 8km away from the coast it was ok with 30C. Many big fires the same as in Germany. It is said that by 2100 Spain and Portugal will be a desert. All the beauty, the rich fauna, and flora will be lost and we are mainly to blame.

    The human race needs an urgent brainwash as it is still evident that we do not realize that destroying the environment which is our habitat, after all, will, in the end, cause our disappearance.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jul 02.2019 | 06:38 am

Aabidah Ahmed

This is a serious situation, as water shortages were happening back In the country South Africa In Cape Town. This is happening all over. 

Sometimes this can happen to certain Cities and that’s why I always have bottled water, even though there are no water shortages happening at the moment. So mine is stacked away in the garage, and others I keep inside the house in case I have to use the bottled water.

I have always prepared where water is concerned and so should others. It’s really sad what happens in other countries and you really wonder what if it happens in your country.

This is great knowledge to know about Spain. I like hearing about things that are happening outside of my country so I can be aware of what’s happening in the world.

Thank you for this in-depth post about Spain’s water shortages.

All the best to you.

Jul 12.2019 | 01:23 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning Aabidah,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.

    Nowadays one is connected worldwide and hears what is happening immediately. Not like in old times when writing a letter it could take weeks or even months.

    The situation in Spain is not different from many other places. It really puts out a warning to use water more carefully. Recently I have come across something which is good for the planet and the people. Perhaps you care to have a look at the widget under my photo on the sidebar. United we can change many things for the better.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jul 13.2019 | 06:13 am

Joe

Climate change is truly a terrible thing. The fact that this indirectly caused a water shortage issue in Spain is doubly concerning.

I agree that everyone should play a part in water conservation and it starts with education.

I think more thoughts should go into how to conserve water and reduce water wastage. Perhaps a tiered-pricing for water usage could be implemented like in other parts of the world, so that as long as water usage below a certain threshold can be kept cheap, while usage above a certain should be made more expensive. This should keep water wastage in check.

Jul 12.2019 | 01:30 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning Joe,

    When Mr. Trump nominates a climate denier as next UN Ambassador no wonder it is going in the wrong direction. The leader you chose can make or break your country. Spain and Portugal will be a desert by the year 2100 so by then the south of Europe will have emigrated to the North. I do not think there will be enough place for us all.

    Just recently I have discovered something positive. You might like to take a look at the widget under my photo on the sidebar. Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jul 13.2019 | 06:22 am

Henry

HI Taetske! These are shocking reports! I didn’t know that climate change was affecting Spain so directly. 

And as you have stated, education starts at home. There are small things that a lot of us could do and together it would have a big positive impact. Thank you for putting together this post!

Jul 12.2019 | 02:13 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning Henry,

    Thank you for your comment. Nice to see you again.

    Yes, I know these are shocking things. Since starting to write for my websites I have come across a lot of wrong things in our world. Most of these situations are man-made. In Spain, they say: ponerte las pillas, which means we better put our batteries = get going as it is already 5 minutes past 12.00.

    We all should do small things but better still all unite, as like that our voice will be heard. Please have a look at the widget below my photo on the sidebar. I discovered it recently and think this innovative concept is great. Help the planet and people.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jul 13.2019 | 06:28 am

Jenna Foster

Aloha Taetske! Thank you for the beautiful post! Like in Spain the weather in Hawaii is changing dramatically. We live on Big Island in the southeast part of it. The weather patterns changed remarkable in the last two! years. We are oscillating between drought and monsoon rain for days. Last year our weather was impacted by the Kilauea eruption. We experienced so heavy fog that after the air cleared up the plants were burning in the sun. I love this part with training plants using less water. Our plants are used to get plenty of water. However, when we miss rain for a few days I start watering but give them only a sip in the morning and evening. And they are ok with it.
Such a bummer, we humans are not so easily trainable like the plants and still wasting water everywhere. I hope, the readers get inspired by your blog and help to improve their environment.
Sending much Love and Light!
Aloha to Costa del Sol!
Jenna

Jul 14.2019 | 01:08 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Jenna,

    Thank you for your visit and leaving a comment. Nice to see you again.

    As the area which needs watering is quite big it would be impossible to give a little water in the morning to be repeated again in the evening. Every second week spending a full working day on watering is enough as there are always so many other things to do. In old times I would be working every morning outside for some 3 hours but that I do not do anymore. I think that after nearly 40 years that is ok. Now I have new priorities in my life. The building, planting, the total creation of this place was fun but now it is getting a bit much.

    The way it is going we will have to adapt to big changes. There might be a massive emigration from the south of Europe to the North when it gets too hot to live here. Just recently with the African heatwave which affected a big part of Europe one could imagine how life will be if a situation which lasted 1 week becomes the norm.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jul 14.2019 | 06:44 am

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