Europe Battles Water Shortages As Severe Drought Sweeps The Continent

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(MENAFN– Swissinfo) A Swiss Army helicopter supplies an alp in eastern Switzerland with water for the cows in 2018 © Keystone / Ennio Leanza

In Obwalden, high in the Swiss Alps, the army has been drafted in to save the cows. With mountain streams in the Alpine country drying up, military helicopters were dispatched last week to transport huge containers of water up to the pastures from the lakes below, in an effort to prevent the herds from dying of thirst.

This content was published on August 6, 2022 – 10:56 August 6, 2022 – 10:56 Financial Times reporters

“In Switzerland we’re not used to the idea of droughts,” said Sonia Seneviratne, professor of land-climate dynamics at the federal technology institute ETH Zurich.“We see ourselves as being this water fortress of Europe, but as glaciers shrink and summer temperatures become more extreme this is less and less a reality.”

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The water shortages are part of a severe drought sweeping the continent from Portugal to eastern Europe and southern England to Italy. Scientists blame the combination of an unusually dry winter followed by an equally dry spring and a summer of baking heat, part of a warming trend brought on by climate change.

The drought and extremely high temperatures across Europe – France has been gripped by a third heatwave of the summer – are affecting households, industry, transport and tourism, as well as farming and agriculture. The tinder-dry ground also provides ideal conditions for the wildfires that have ravaged France, Portugal and other countries.

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