Europe is facing one of the worst water scarcity in years, and this is having a massive impact on the tourism industry. From Italy to the snow-covered nation Switzerland, Europe is having water shortages and is on the brink of facing the worst drought of recent times.
Over the past few years, scientists have been warning about the water problem in European countries. According to a study by the Graz University of Technology in Austria, Europe has been in a drought since 2018, with its water status characterised as “very precarious.”
Scientists have raised questions over the ability of Europe’s water reservoirs to replenish before summer. According to reports, much of Europe has experienced below-average precipitation levels during the recent winter. Experts believe that it is only reasonable to assume that drought conditions will persist during the upcoming summer months.
As per meteorological experts in Italy, “Northern Italy is currently experiencing a dry period that has already lasted two years.” This winter has seen unusually high temperatures and low precipitation. Even the snow covered Alps Mountains in Switzerland and Germany, are also making arrangements keeping water shortage in mind.
In France’s Jura region in the country’s east, where the mountains are well below 2,000 metres (6,560 feet) in height and home to numerous ski resorts, the number of tourists in February was 69% below the average of the past five years. Even the Spanish region of Catalonia is suffering a prolonged dry spell. Major reservoirs, which supply drinking water to places like Barcelona, have reached historic lows.
This also means that tourists are now finding new attractions on some of the famous spots, like Italy’s Lake Garda. Now visitors can walk to Rabbit Island (Isola dei Conigli), a tiny outcrop in the middle of the lake, instead of having to take a boat. These scenarios are also bracing people for precarious situations that they will be witnessing in the coming months, and making a rather tough summer to harbour through.
According to experts, they don’t expect the drought to break. The upcoming summer threatens to be “very difficult”, especially considering that it would have to rain for more than a few days to make up the water deficit.They have underlined climate change as the major contributing factor to the water crisis Europe is facing.
Recently, the UN chaired the second world water conference, after a gap of 50 years, where the need for sustainable water was highlighted and it was noted as a part of human rights. António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, urged political leaders worldwide to intensify their efforts to preserve global water resources.
“All of humanity’s hopes for the future depend, in some way, on charting a new course to manage and conserve water sustainably. It needs to be at the center of the political agenda,” Guterres said at the United Nations 2023 Water Conference held in New York last month.