This year, a severe drought is threatening eastern and southern Spain.The last months have been extremely dry, threatening harvests of the rainfed areas and potentially putting farmers out of business. Murcia, Valencia and Alicante are among the worst hit areas, where rainfall has been down to just 25% of average levels, according to Meteorological Agency AEMET.

Maps of greeness index of the Iberian Peninsula on April 30, 2014 (upper-left) y its deviation from the normal situation in 2014, 2013 y 2005.

The critical situation in some areas is making policy makers look for innovative solutions to monitor the drought situation and impacts. FutureWater has recently started a 3-year project (GESEQ) partly funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy to develop a drought monitoring tool which will allow anticipating better to drought conditions and predict their consequences. Currently, test modules are being set-up which will be extended over the following 2 years towards a mature decision support system.

Accumulated greenness anomaly for several rainfed agricultural areas in the Murcia Region

The media and water managers of local water authorities have put interest these days in the project. Here below a summary of some recent media coverage (in Spanish):

  • La Verdad, 28 Mayo 2014: “El desastre a vista de satélite” y “Peor que en la última sequía de 2005”
  • Portal, 28 Mayo 2014: “El verdor del secano advierte de la severidad de la sequía
  • Agencia SINC, 17 Junio 2014: “Una ‘spin-off’ de Cartagena desarrolla un sistema para prevenir los efectos de la sequía
  • Onda Regional Murcia, 24 Junio 2014, radio interview: ““FutureWater sabe cómo prevenir los efectos de la sequía