Walkers cooling their feet, from the left, Bob Kelly, Mary Young, John Daffey, Eckhart Floether and Michael Sellers.JPG

Extreme drought

The extreme drought affecting Portugal is leading to farmers losing large percentages of their crops.

In the Algarve, citrus and carob production fell by 30% and 40% respectively. In the Alentejo, wheat production has dropped 40% while grape harvests were down 29% in the Lisbon and Vale do Tejo region.

In the North, agricultural output generally diminished 25% due to a lack of rainfall.

Last month, 74% of Portugal was facing an extreme drought situation. Rainfall was at 2.5 litres/m2, way below the average for July (10.3l/m2), said the Instituto da Água.

The current drought also means reduced power ouput at Portugal’s dams.

In the first half of the year, dams produced a mere 65% of the energy output in the same period of 2011, leading to more than 152% of energy having to be imported at a cost of €150 million.