by Taetske | 5:51 pm
(Last Updated On: August 6, 2021)

 

The water shortage in Spain is getting critical

 

Beautiful lake

Beautiful lake image Ronald Plett

 

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, so I saved it in my file. 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 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.

 

Winegrowing with irrigation system

Winegrowing with irrigation system image MonikaP

 

Training my garden to survive on little water

Over 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 very much depends 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. View this 10 minutes short YouTube video which shows you an underground watering system.

 

 

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 seriously needs repair.

 

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 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 because of 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 foul weather from coming more to the south, and Spain does not get rain.

They have not studied enough the natural pattern of the NAO 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.

 

Lake in Sanabria

Lake in Sanabria image jcmejia acera

 

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 realize the seriousness of this national problem.

There are 1 million illegal wells, which should be closed. They should update laws 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 helps. 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 distances 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 Euros 7 per cubic meter. Because it is relatively cheap here does not mean we should waste it.

 

Rain storm

Rainstorm image Tobias Hammer

 

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 warm is neither a good idea and only acceptable if they water it with recycled water. Still, it seems when they use recycled water one tends to over water.

Neither should one wish for extensive fields of corn, as that is a crop that requires an enormous 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.

 

Have a shower

Have a shower image Seregas

 

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 more 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 it really surprised me. 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 save water today.

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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.

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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

arzu hosan

I needed to chuckle a little when I read that harvest time and spring were fleeting in the territory; it’s a similar situation where I live over in the Pittsburgh, PA locale in the US. Fall and spring limit themselves to about a month each! On a genuine note, it appears Spain is for sure in a water emergency and I concur that training begins in the family unit.

I love the strategies you laid out and plainly we just underestimate water. I’ve generally been one hoping to spare water, particularly since when I was simply beginning a couple of years prior my salary was insane restricted so I searched for such techniques to save money on the water charge, something that after some time has been instilled in me

Dec 01.2019 | 04:14 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning Arzu,

    Thank you for your comment on my website. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget

    The world we knew when being small is changing fast. Things we take still for granted might become a scarcity for generations to come. This autumn is very dry in the south of Spain getting rain like once a month. In other regions, it is the opposite and big areas are flooded causing big loss and damage.

    My Father was a director of a water company in Holland and I was taught that water is a precious good and one should not waste it.

    Regards, Taetske

    Dec 02.2019 | 07:56 am

Danijel

Hello Taetske, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I really did not know that such a situation is in Spain, you are right about having your own water, this is a disaster.

Just like you mentioned, I think that we should spare a little when it comes to brushing teeth and showering.

Dec 01.2019 | 04:14 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Danijel,

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

    Just now, on Spanish news at 15.00 I heard that this last year 20 million people had to move because of climate change. Every year more people will have to leave the place where they are living. It is predicted that by 2050 Spain will be too hot also. I am happy I will not be alive any more to see that happen. To think I have to watch when my lovely garden dies because of lack of water would really hurt.

    We can all do little things which will make a big impact on the world. I hope a lot of people start thinking about how to do that.

    Regards, Taetske 

    Dec 02.2019 | 02:29 pm

riverdogg

Hi, that was a really interesting read about the drought and water problems in Spain and it’s so cool that you own your own farm. Do you have just grapes and oranges or do you grow other stuff too?

About the water reservoirs in Spain and the evaporation of the damaged systems, so what if the reservoirs were changed to completely underground reservoirs where it is cool enough to prevent water from evaporating into its gas form? This way your country would lose a lot less water to evaporation. Good luck.

Dec 01.2019 | 04:18 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Sean,

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

    On the farm, there are some avocado, plum, peach, and a big fig tree. I also have a lemon, mandarin, grapefruits, and walnut. Michael is taking care of the vegetable garden. Today we went to the nursery and bought baby plants, 2 types of lettuce, different tomatoes, and squash. As the temperatures are rather mild you can grow the whole year at least a few things. There are also happy chickens for the eggs.

    The idea of putting the water underground sounds good but I am afraid the infrastructure would be too costly. Spain is big and there are a lot of mountains.

    Regards, Taetske

    Dec 02.2019 | 02:49 pm

Rodarrick

This is an informative post and very eye-opening. Though there is climatic change then, I don’t know that it is having a direct influence on how Spain is and also affecting them. It is in the truth that the very little things make a great difference and education will help to raise the awareness level of individuals to know exactly what is expected of us all to do.

Dec 01.2019 | 04:22 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Rodger,

    Nice to see you again. Thank you for your comment on my website.

    It seems that the younger generation is more conscious of the problems in our world. We should all do our part as it will have an impact. In the years I have been in Spain I have seen how the seasons have changed and the temperatures are getting more extreme. I find it rather worrying, to say the least.

    Regards, Taetske

    Dec 02.2019 | 03:03 pm

PeterMinea

Hello again Taetske!

The fact that you developed an own irrigation network is indeed very helpful to your trees, given the very warm summers in the Spanish area. They also had serious problems with vegetation fires.

So it is truly amazing how they manage to have such a cheap water bill. Spanish people should really appreciate the advantage their water reservoirs system brings to them, and prevent wasting their water, especially now that the climate keeps becoming hotter.

Best regards, Peter

Dec 01.2019 | 04:23 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Peter,

    Welcome back to my website. Thank you for your comment.

    This situation in Spain is really bad. I have made my personal statistics for quite some years. I write down when it rains. Of course only the real ones, not those drizzles which do not really do much. As there are very big cypress trees on the property if it is not wet below those trees it is not considered a good rain and does not make the list.

    Every year there are bad fires in Spain. Over the years I have observed 2 and that was really frightening. Lucky for me the wind blew the other direction. My property is surrounded by avocado farms on 3 sides and those trees burn too well.

    Regards, Taetske 

     

    Dec 02.2019 | 04:14 pm

KingAndrea

It’s really disheartening to hear about the current situation of Spain’s plains. Water is a very vital requirement to life, without it, it’s is rather impossible for life to exist till a particular time so this situation in Spain should be tackled as soon as possible and as you’ve said, education starts at home, citizens should try as much as possible to minimize and coordinate how they use water. 

Dec 01.2019 | 04:23 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon James,

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

    It is not easy to solve this problem. It is predicted that by 2050 Spain and Portugal will live in a constant heatwave of 40C plus and by 2100 it will be a desert.

    We can slow the process by being mindful of water use and not waste it.

    Regards, Taetske

    Dec 03.2019 | 04:04 pm

Anjali

Hello Taetske,

It is a very good thing that you decided to write this article about water shortage in Spain. The more people become aware of this water crisis is the better. We really should think and come up with plans to save water before droughts are coming.

As you have mentioned the little things like closing the tap faster, opening tap halfway to avoid unnecessary water flow, can make a drastic change in the long run.

Dec 01.2019 | 04:33 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Anjali,

    Thank you for visiting my website and your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.

    We can do all our bit to save water. To have water is a right all people have but sadly there are so many who do not have it available. One should become more conscious about it and not waste it like we often do.

    Regards, Taetske

    Dec 03.2019 | 04:17 pm

Alblue

Thanks for sharing this story. In my place, we don’t really have a shortage of water reservoirs due to our country surrounded by the ocean. However, it’s true that our clean water reserve has been declining, especially due to the waste produced by industry. I heard the condition has been improved a bit due to lower industry practice caused by COVID-19 pandemic, but I’m haven’t checked an official source.

Your suggestion to turn off the water when brushing our teeth and showering is very useful and I should keep in mind. Thanks.

Mar 02.2021 | 04:50 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning Alexander,

    When the world was forced into lockdown, Mother Earth recuperated. In Venice the fish and swans came back in the canals, and the Himalayan mountains became visible at an enormous distance after over 30 years. Now, humans are moving around again so we have gone back to before. The same levels of pollution in the air and water.

    There are many small things each person can do on an individual level. As water is an universal right, we all should contribute to using it responsibly.

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.

    Regards, Taetske

    Mar 03.2021 | 07:39 am

Kokontala

Hi, I’m pleased to have read your interesting post. Well, I agree with you a hundred percent that having water is of utmost importance, because it’s a basic need. I have never been to Spain, but I had always anticipated it to be one of the best countries ever, but I think water situation should be a very big problem for both humans and plants. You are indeed blessed to have your own water.

Mar 02.2021 | 05:01 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning Kokontola,

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

    In case you come to Spain one day, do not hesitate to contact me. I love to meet the readers of my website.

    I am indeed blessed to have my own water. Over the years I have become conscious of the importance to have good quality water available, be it for my property or personal use.

    Regards, Taetske 

    Mar 03.2021 | 07:29 am

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