Reservoirs in Andalucía only hold 25% of total capacity. / sur

Spanish government to convene National Drought Committee to tackle the serious water shortage

The Junta de Andalucía is demanding urgent works and measures in the region to guarantee the necessary resources

JOSÉ LUIS PIEDRA Seville

The Spanish government in Madrid has agreed to convene the National Drought Committee after pressure from different regions and the agricultural sector because the lack of water is becoming so serious. In Andalucía, for example, the reservoirs currently hold only 25% of their potential capacity.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fishing and Food, Luis Planas, said the committee will meet "within the next few days" and expressed his surprise at complaints that this has not been done sooner. He said the National Drought Committee has been functioning since 4 March, after agreeing on important measures which had been put into effect and were still in force, and that the government was working hard to find a solution to the problems.

Planas pointed out that the serious drought problem is affecting 47% of Europe and “we have to combat climate change and be able to adjust and adapt to the situation, using the water we have in the best way possible. This are new times and we need to consider many new strategies in relation to water. It is not a debate about whether or not to irrigate; it needs to be sustainable,” he said.

Demands from the Junta de Andalucía

Carmen Crespo, his counterpart in the Andalusian government, said she was pleased the National Drought Committee will be meeting at last. “We have been calling on this to be done urgently and as a priority, and for the committee to introduce new measures to alleviate the effects of the drought on the agricultural and farming sector in Andalucía,” she said.

She also said she hoped the committee would agree to carry out some of the urgent water-related infrastructure works in the region, and for EU Next Generation funds to be used to finance such projects.