Consequences for Austria – winter drought: Europe is bone dry


Not only France and Northern Italy are suffering from a real winter drought, Austria has also had too little rainfall recently. That doesn’t bode well for the summer.

Last winter was not only warmer than normal – the temperature was around two degrees above average – but also much too dry, especially in the west and south of the country. Especially in the wet winter months, the reservoirs have to fill up and the groundwater level has to rise again during heavy rainfall. The winter drought is particularly severe in northern Italy and France, where some regions have not had a drop of rain for weeks.

But also in Austria, which is still regarded as a country with a lot of water, the prospects for the future are anything but rosy. Scientists predict that climate change could reduce groundwater reserves by a quarter by 2050. In recent summers, for example, we have had to contend with longer periods of drought on several occasions, and a lack of precipitation in the winter months creates a dangerous mix: a shortage arises, which gradually dries up our water supply.

Increased risk of fire in spring
“The consequences of the warm and rainless winter are not only noticeable this year, but have been particularly noticeable since 2018 due to the progressive lowering of the groundwater level in certain regions. “Of course, this storage can be supplemented if there is precipitation. However, it takes time and cannot be compensated quickly,” warns Felix Montecuccoli, president of the Main Association of Land & Forestry Companies.

His concern: “Drought stress means an increased risk of fire for the green spruce, which is being deprived of its function as an important water reservoir. And that is already in the spring.”

Source: Krone


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