Europe’s rivers are drying up as the drought could be the worst in more than 500 years

Across Europe, drought is wiping out once mighty rivers, with potentially dramatic consequences for industry, freight, energy and food production – as are supply shortages and rising prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are biting, local media reported.

Due to the worsening climate, an unusually dry winter and spring followed by record summer temperatures and repeated heat waves have left Europe’s vital waterways under-replenished and increasingly overheated, reported The Guardian.

With no significant rainfall recorded for nearly two months in western, central and southern Europe and no forecast for the near future, meteorologists say the drought could become the continent’s worst in more than 500 years, reported The Guardian.

“We haven’t fully analyzed this year’s event as it is still ongoing,” said Andrea Toreti of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. “There have been no other events in the past 500 [years] similar to the drought of 2018. But this year, I think, it’s worse.”

The German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) said the level of the Rhine, whose waters are used for freight transport, irrigation, manufacturing, power generation and consumption, will continue to fall in the future. least until early next week, The Guardian reported.

A vital part of the economy of northwestern Europe for centuries, the 1,233 km of the Rhine flows from Switzerland through the industrial heartland of Germany before reaching the North Sea at the megaport of Rotterdam.

In Italy, the flow of the desiccated Po, Italy’s longest river, has fallen to a tenth of its usual flow, and water levels are 2 meters lower than normal. With no sustained rainfall in the region since November, maize and risotto rice production has been hit hard.

The Po Valley accounts for between 30-40% of Italy’s agricultural production, but rice farmers in particular have warned that up to 60% of their harvest could be lost as the paddies dry up and are marred by water of sea sucked in by the river’s low level, reported The Guardian.



(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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