TYROL - As a result of climate change, droughts are on the rise in Europe and local and national governments are preparing for increasingly dry years.
The Southern Alps and Mediterranean regions are all particularly affected. How are these regions coping with these issues?
Thirsty Europe is a cross border project that has searched for some of the solutions to the problems generated by drought. This fascinating investigative story explores South Tyrol with writer Teseo LaMarca (Italy), Sicily (Italy) with writer Pierluigi Bizzini, Andalusia/Algarve (Spain/Portugal) with writer Emerson Mendoza and Catalonia (Spain) with photographer Michele Curel, through funding from the EU Cross Border Investigative Journalism Grant.
Catalonia has suffered serious droughts in the past. However, the present drought of 2023 is the worst and is due to the decrease in rainfall since autumn 2020, the lowest it’s been for 3 years on record since 1914. Added to this long stretch of drought is the heat, which has been increasing dramatically since 1973, peaking in 2023 and which has been causing much of the harm.
The case study of the Italian region of South Tyrol reveals how much potential of saving water actually still exists and why the local government failed to use this potential so far. As the key reasons behind this failure the investigation identifies two main factors: the lack of a wide-spread awareness of the problem within society and the strong lobbying of interest groups – especially hotel owners and farmers – which prevent the local administration from taking effective measures for a more sustainable water management.
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