There is climate change, it is already here, it is permanent and 99.9% of it is human-induced. There is a scientific consensus. Nobody and nothing is free. But there are degrees. The Iberian Peninsula will be the continent most affected by extreme droughtAccording to the European Environment Agency. Climate models predict greater challenges and extreme changes that will make it increasingly difficult to secure adequate water. There will be peninsular areas that will live under severe water stress. Spain is drying up. The desert is advancing.
WWF Spain, public investment and increase urgent actions To deal with this serious threat. because More than 9 million hectares of land in Spain are already classified as areas with high or very high risk of desertification.mainly in the third and two archipelagos in the south.
Causes of desertification in Spain: overuse of aquifers and unsustainable irrigation growth; most land abandonment and soil degradation; and its concentration Periods of extreme drought as a result of climate change.
Various scientific studies predict decreased precipitation, especially in the Atlantic basins, Guadalquivir and the south of the peninsula. Steady increase in average temperatures of up to 2 degrees by 2040.
However, despite the extreme vulnerability to drought and the risk of desertification, WWF denounces it. Spain chooses a ‘suicidal’ management model that prioritizes water for heavily irrigated and industrialized crops. The NGO warns that “80% of this resource is consumed in irrigation in our basins, excluding the illegally consumed water”.
Greenpeace also warns about desertification on the Peninsula. It highlights Seven out of ten river basins with Europe’s worst chronic drought are in Spain. It also shows as the main reasons. overuse of water resources, intensive agriculture and irrational urbanization. And it demands a change in hydraulic, forestry and agricultural policies.
Desertification and drought can have devastating effects on the environment and biodiversity, as well as serious social and economic consequences (forcing the population to leave the affected areas, creating poverty, health problems…).
The risk of desertification and drought is particularly serious in southern Portugal, Spain and southern Italy, southeastern Greece, Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria, and the Black Sea coastal areas of Romania..
The data is very worrying: 75% and 80% of Spain at risk of becoming desert During this century, according to the Ministry of Environment. Y A third of Spain already suffers from very high levels of desertification. Unless urgent measures are taken, this arid area will continue to grow.
Former Ministry of Environment future scenario The sum of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas in Spain will reach 37.4 million hectares out of the 50.5 million of the total area. These magnitudes leave no room for doubt, this is a phenomenon that does not only affect the southern half of the peninsula. heading north.
“Before that Immediate risk of desertification and drought in Spainand the devastating problems associated with it, there is only one. The solution: curbing climate change and strengthening the rural environment” indicates Julio Barea, responsible for Greenpeace’s waters.
Support a water-saving culture
In the face of increasingly intense droughts and the progression of desertification, truly adapting human demands to available water resources Reducing the exposure of the population and productive sectors to risk in a time of resource scarcity; and supporting a culture of water conservation In Spain, in front of the water for everything without limits.
To deal with this situation, the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, National Strategy to Combat Desertificationaimed at reducing their impact and restoring degraded areas.
“Although it represents an important milestone, we consider this plan to lack a defined budget and concrete measures for the next eight years. It is essential that the ministry promote a specific line of funding to address this crisis. if we really want to win the war against desertification”, underlines the WWF.
NGO, with its current agenda, Government strategy will be too late to stop unstoppable desertification progress in Spain.
It considers it “necessary” to appropriately integrate the aims, measures and recommendations of the Strategy to Combat Desertification in Spain with other countries. related plans To solve this problem, such as assistance in connection with the Common Agricultural Policy, mitigation programs approved in border hydrological plans, or Next Generation funds.
The WWF also claims Soil Conservation Law to prevent its continued erosion and degradation.