By Manuel Cardo
A total of 94% of continental Portugal is now in a estate of “Severe Drought” according to the Portuguese weather Institute (IPMA)
IPMA says that “the combination of lower than average precipitation values with extremely high temperatures has resulted in high values of evapotranspiration and significant ground humidity deficits”
These values are having the biggest impact on the agriculture and farmers.
Alexandra Brito from “Portuguese Agriculture” (CAP) says: “this is affecting all the the types of agriculture, from annual agriculture like wheat and potatoes to permanent ones like orchards and olive fields. Livestock farming is also taking a big hit.”
“Animals are suffering both from the pastures dying out and from the lack of water for them to drink. Most of the time the lack of drinking is the biggest issue, because depending on the farmer’s funds, food can always be imported. With water it is harder.”
Portugal is no stranger to drought crisis but this year’s issue is having a much bigger impact. Mrs Brito explains why: “Usually the droughts affect only the south of Portugal which already has infrastructures in place to deal with it. This year the drought has hit parts of the country that traditionally have the most amount of rain.”
“In the north of Portugal, in a town called Viseu, there was a need to bring tanks of water because there wasn’t enough, not even for the people to drink.”
Mrs Brito says that there is little PAC can do about it, but measures have been implemented nonetheless.
“This year we’re rushing the governmental supports and we’ve created special loan programs to help the farmers with having enough funds to make it through this.”
“has to long term plans, we’re trying the make the most of the dams we have built in the past and creating a network of water vessels to feed the most affected regions, but I think at some point we will have to give in and adapt the traditional national agriculture by copying the ones of drier countries.”
Specialists warn that, due to global warming, these crisis are only going to get more frequent and Mrs Brito stresses the importance of adapting the country to be able to better deal with them in the future.
Portugal has been hit with heavy rains since the early morning of the 24th.
The entire country is rejoicing has yellow rain alerts start to pop up in the weather bulletins.
Despite this, Agência Lusa has confirmed that the efforts to bring water to the people of the town of Viseu are going to continue for the predictable future.
After being hit the hardest by the drought, Viseu has been dependent on tanker trucks for drinking water since the end of October.
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