Acknowledging the importance of drought mitigation strategies, EU researchers underlined the need to tackle climate change, the root of the problem.
Researchers at the European Commission have warned that nearly half of the EU's territory is currently at risk of drought, as southwest Europe wilted under a punishing heatwave.
In a report for July, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre said on Monday that 46 percent of the EU's territory was exposed to warning-level drought, with 11 percent at an alert level, with crops already suffering from the lack of water.
Italy was the hardest hit, with the Po River basin in the north of the country facing the highest level possible of drought severity, the EU said.
Italy declares state of emergency for areas surrounding river Po, which accounts for roughly third of country's agricultural production and is suffering its worst drought for 70 years pic.twitter.com/f6XBImYUeY— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) July 5, 2022
'Very critical situation'
In Spain, water reservoir volumes are currently 31 percent lower than the 10-year average, the report said, while in Portugal, water to produce hydroelectric energy is at half the average of the previous seven years.
The EU researchers also warned that the lack of water and strong heat are driving crop yields lower in France, Romania, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Weather forecasts predict more of the same, the report said, adding to an already "very critical situation" that will exacerbate the effects on agriculture, energy and water supply.
Dozens of wildfires ravage Spain scorching thousands of hectares of land causing many residents to evacuate their homes pic.twitter.com/pQ8i4u79fz— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) July 18, 2022