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4 Things We Must Learn From the Spain Drought
Blog...4 Things We Must Learn From the Spain Drought

4 Things We Must Learn From the Spain Drought

Green News
Global Warming
view of granada from the alahambra
In this article, we’ll recap the current drought in Spain, how it affects Spain and other countries, and 4 things we can learn from this drought.
Green News
view of granada from the alahambra

When in the midst of a drought, we’re always preoccupied with the notion of taking shorter showers or making sure the sprinklers aren’t set to automatically go off three times a day – but droughts such as the current Spain drought may have additional unforeseen consequences worth keeping in mind.

The current drought in Spain has officially reached an all time high – causing the region of Catalonia to declare an emergency. 

In this article, we’ll recap the current drought in Spain, how it affects Spain and other countries, and 4 things we can learn from this Spain drought.

What is the current drought in Spain?

The current drought in Spain is predominantly taking place in the capital region Catalonia, home to the popular city of Barcelona – which drew in nearly 10 million tourists in 2022 alone. This means that this ongoing drought not only affects around six million residents, but any visitors that decide to travel to the Catalonia region of Spain.

The ongoing drought in Spain started in 2023, but it has recently reached a new high – with the country declaring an emergency on February 1st 2024 to warn residents and tourists alike that the effects of this drought are just beginning.
ap news satellite view of spain

Spain is known to be facing record high temperatures as a result of three consecutive years of decreased rainfall in combination with record-high temperatures – especially as 2023 was the Earth’s hottest year to date.

Unfortunately, the drought-like conditions are going to get worse as climate change continues to affect vulnerable regions such as the Mediterranean – an already year-round pleasant climate which will be among the first affected. 

As a result of the current drought, Spanish citizens must:

  • Conserve their water as taps are being turned off and fines are being threatened
  • Face timely water blackouts, similar to load shedding, in order to conserve electricity
  • Observe multiple campaigns on a daily-basis in order to promote water conservation 

👉 Seeing as Europe is warming twice as fast as other continents, it is viable to presume that the current drought in Catalonia is only going to get worse. 

colorful spain street

How is Spain affected by the current drought?

Spain has and will continue to be profoundly impacted by the current Spain drought – such as with reduced tourism, threatened health and safety of citizens, and additional financial efforts in order to curb the current effects of reduced drinking water for the sake of sanitation and to protect the people of Spain.

The current drought in Spain doesn’t only affect the health of the country and its citizens, but extends to economic issues that are hard to rectify as long as this drought in Spain persists.
severe drought around barcelona

Here are some of the current effects of the Spain drought:

  • Residences, farmers, and businesses alike are being pushed to meet water restrictions, or to face fines as a result of failing to comply;
  • Reservoirs are 16% below their expected capacity;
  • Residents must ration water with some even needing to get their water from a truck as tap water is no longer deemed safe to drink;
  • Tourism has begun to suffer as inbound visitors grow concerned with traveling to Barcelona;
  • Other countries in Europe which depend on Spain for produce are meeting difficulties with supply and demand.

👉 Smaller towns in Spain, such as Gualba and Espluga de Francolí, remain the most affected in the midst of the drought – as these cities are not as closely connected to Barcelona, which has made an effort to avoid shortages by encouraging desalination and the use of water purification (something smaller cities in Spain do no have access to).

view of malaga spain from airplane window at sunrise

Why is the Spain drought bad for other countries?

The drought in Spain isn’t just bad for Spanish citizens, but for other countries – and more specifically for neighboring European countries.

The current Spain drought has an impact on nearby countries as it prevents European neighbors from visiting Spain and boosting the country’s economy, as well as reducing the amount of viable produce Spain can send to other European countries.

One of the downsides of the drought, unrelated to health and safety, is the lack of international tourism  – with residents of other countries hesitant to travel to Spain. This could cause several European airlines, such as British Airways or Air France, to struggle to sell their usual airline routes at full capacity. 

💡However, this arguably may impact Spain more than it does other countries – seeing as other European countries will benefit from a boost in domestic tourism, such as British people traveling to the south of the U.K. and helping their own country’s economy instead of Spain’s.

The other EU-wide detrimental effect that the Spain drought will have across Europe is the country’s reduced ability to produce fruits and vegetables to be exported elsewhere in the continent. As a result of the current drought, a whopping 80% of Spain’s farmland has been compromised due to the drastic water shortages. 

👉 This makes it next to impossible to harvest quality produce, and means that other countries are likely to experience a shortage of some of Spain’s most infamous exports.

view of granada spain

What are 4 things we should learn from the Spain drought?

It’s never good to be caught in the middle of the drought, but with any hope – the ongoing negative consequences that tourists, citizens, and businesses alike are facing in Catalonia can serve as a reminder for how detrimental droughts can be and why we should work hard to prevent them in the future.

Droughts don’t only cause health and safety concerns, but can provoke economic crisis and mental health issues as well – taking the overall joy out of life’s pleasures such as travel or a relaxing bath.

Here are four things we should remain cognizant of during and after the current drought in Spain:

Droughts Can Reduce the Availability of Drinking Water 

A drought doesn’t only mean you should take shorter showers or only flush the toilet when it’s absolutely necessary, but droughts can impact the amount of viable drinking water available – as a drought often means the available water isn’t good quality.

This means that local produce is also affected by a drought, especially in a country like Spain which is growing many different types of produce for the rest of Europe – such as avocados, oranges, and lemons.

Human Activity Is Making Droughts Worse 

Excessive human activity such as pushing for greater production, travel, or single-use plastic packaging are all contributing to droughts and making them worse than they already are – such as with the current drought in Spain.

view of dry spain land from plane

Droughts Have an Impact on Tourism 

Countries in southern Europe such as Italy, Spain, Greence, and Portugal often rely on international tourism to help boost their economy in times of need – and during a catastrophic drought, Spain could use the extra financial boost from tourism now more than ever. 

In fact, tourism accounted for 11.6 of Spain’s GDP – while also helping to generate almost 2 million jobs and accounted for 9.3% of Spain’s total employment.

It’s important to remember that while droughts can take a toll on people and businesses both physically and psychologically, droughts can also spur challenging economic issues – such as battling decreased levels of tourism when that additional income could prove most useful.

Droughts Affect Consumerism

An ongoing drought requires creativity for brands needing to sell products which rely on the produce made in a country such as Spain. For example, guacamole brands based in Europe may need to get creative and offer avocado dip blends such as hummus avocado or greek yogurt avocado dips in order to compensate for the loss of avocado from Spain.

In addition to this, it requires the everyday consumer to be open to altering their diets – as countries across Europe will continue to be affected by the drought in Spain with increasing prices for produce coming from the Catalonia or Andulsa regions. 

shriveled up lake

How can your business help to prevent a Spain drought in the future?

It’s always better to avoid a drought from ever occurring in the first place than to try and reverse the negative downsides of a drought while still being in one – with the current drought in Spain being a perfect example of this. 

We can all do our part to help avoid future droughts from happening with some but effective actions to fight climate change as a whole.

Here are some ways your business or individuals can take action help curb the changes of a future or extended drought:

  • Conserve Water – This tip may seem evident, but conserving water comes in more than one form – such as by preserving water while washing the dishes, getting an energy efficient washing machine or dishwasher, and refraining from flushing the toilet too often.
  • Invest in Desalination – If your company can invest in eco-friendly or sustainable efforts such as desalination, which is the process of turning saltwater into viable drinking water – 
  • Utilizing AI –  Artificial Intelligence may be scary, but it can prove wildly useful in more ways than one – such as by helping your company to manage water better. This can include anything from managing how long automatic sinks or water dispensers run for, or how much water plants in the office really need so businesses can save on water. 
  • General Efforts to Fight Climate Change – Any small effort, such as by opting to take public transportation over your company car or choosing a reusable water bottle can help to reduce emissions and the overall chances of future droughts.

Overall, the current drought in Spain is revealing to us all the multitude of negative impacts that not only a country – but surrounding regions are prone to experience as a result of long-standing droughts such as the year-long drought still happening in Spain.

The good news is that we can all make a difference in the Spain drought and help to prevent future droughts – but only if we all come together and create the sustainable change Earth is clearly asking us for.

What About Greenly?

If reading this article about the current Spain drought has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

It can be challenging to make sure your company can remain functional in the midst of a drought such as with the current Spain drought, but don’t worry – Greenly is here to help. Click here to schedule a demo to see how Greenly can help you find ways to effectively implement and utilize green finance. 

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

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