The Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (MAPA) presented to the Council of Ministers the 2023 Report on Drought Management. In general, the 2022/23 hydrological year has been a dry year in the whole of Spain. The global average rainfall in the country has been 17.1% lower than the normal reference value of the same months of the 1991-2020 reference period. As a result, 14.6% of the national territory is in a state of emergency due to water shortages and 27.4% is on alert.
As a result, the reserve of water in the reservoirs has decreased considerably in the last ten years. The data, as of September 12, show that the thresholds are especially low: Spain's water reserve is at 37% of its capacity with 20,734 hm³ accumulated. The reservoirs of Guadalquivir (19.1%) and the internal ones of Catalonia (23.3%) are experiencing the most serious situation. The DANA has been a relief in some areas. It helped improve soil moisture and has served to recover a certain volume of storage, however, it has not solved the existing problems.
The climate emergency causes increasingly frequent and intense droughts and Spain is in a situation of greater vulnerability compared to other Member States of the European Union.
The drought's effects on the agricultural sector
As far as the effects of drought on agriculture are concerned, extensive crops and pastures are the most affected sectors.
The drought has also directly affected trees and fruit production, both due to the lack of rainfall and water restrictions for irrigation. As a result, the trees yield lower-caliber products that receive lower prices in the market and negatively affect the profitability of the farms.
Likewise, in some horticultural crops, the lack of water has led to a very significant decrease in the area sown. In the case of industrial tomatoes, for example, producers in Andalusia have only planted 1,700 hectares, when the usual figure stands at around 6,600 hectares.
As a result of the proliferation of adverse weather phenomena, 2023 will be the year with the highest accident rate in the history of agricultural insurance. Compensation is estimated to exceed 1 billion for the year as a whole. 460 million will go to crops damaged by drought, more than 90% of which had already been paid in August.