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Ghost village rises from cracked ground 30 years after being engulfed by a dam as drought drains a reservoir in Spain

A DROUGHT emptied a reservoir in Spain to reveal a ghost village 30 years after it was submerged by a dam.

With almost no rain for two months and not much expected any time soon, the ruins of Aceredo are creating a mixed bag of emotions for locals.

The skeleton of the ancient village of Aceredo has appeared in its original form

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The skeleton of the ancient village of Aceredo has appeared in its original formCredit: Reuters
While the region has experienced drought in its history, experts say climate change has exacerbated the problem.

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While the region has experienced drought in its history, experts say climate change has exacerbated the problem.Credit: Reuters
Below-average rainfall over the past six months is likely to continue for several more weeks

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Below-average rainfall over the past six months is likely to continue for several more weeksCredit: EPA

Roofs sticking out of the water have become a common sight every summer at the Lindoso reservoir in northwestern Spain.

Locals can see the wreck of a rusted car, a stone fountain still gushing out and the old road leading to what used to be a local bar.

During particularly dry years, parts of the ancient village of Aceredo would have been submerged three decades ago when a hydroelectric dam flooded the valley.

But never before has the skeleton of the village emerged intact in the middle of the often wet winter.

Pensioner Maximino Perez Romero, 65, from A Coruna, said it felt as if he were watching a movie.

“I feel sad,” he said.

“My feeling is this is what’s going to happen over the years due to drought and all that, along with climate change.”

Jos Luis Penn, 72, often stops at the bar with friends when fishing at the end of the day.

He said: “It used to be all vineyards, orange trees. Everything was green. It was beautiful.”

Penn, who lives in the same county, pointed to the cracked, yellowed foundation of the reservoir, adding: “Look at it now. It’s sad.”

RAINFALL DROPPED

While the arid regions of the Iberian peninsula have experienced periods of drought in their history, experts say climate change has exacerbated the problem.

This year, amid low or no record rainfall, farmers in both Portugal and Spain, who are growing crops for the whole of Europe, worry that their crops will be ruined. .

For the last three months of 2021, Spain recorded only 35% of the average rainfall it saw during the same period from 1981 to 2010.

But since then, there has been almost no rain.

According to the national weather agency AEMET, this century, only in 2005 has January seen almost no rain.

If the clouds do not appear in the next two weeks, emergency subsidies to farmers will be needed, authorities said.

But Rubén del Campo, a spokesman for the weather agency, said below-average rainfall over the past six months is likely to continue for several more weeks, with hopes that spring will bring much needed relief. .

CROPS AT RISK

While only 10% of Spain is officially under prolonged drought, there are large areas, especially in the south, facing extremely severe shortages that could affect the country. affect crop irrigation.

The valley around the Guadalquivir River in southwestern Spain was hit by a prolonged drought in November.

It is now at the center of a bitter environmental dispute over water rights near Doñana National Park, a World Heritage wetland.

The government of Andalusia wants to give water rights to farmers on land near the park, but critics say the move would further jeopardize an already large wildlife refuge. dried up.

Andres Gongora, a 46-year-old tomato farmer in southern Almeria, said the past two or three years have been dry with a tendency for less and less rain.

Gongora, who hopes the water he uses from a desalination plant will be distributed, is still better off than other farmers who specialize in growing wheat and grain for fodder.

Gongora said, this year’s cereal crops have been lost.

The leading association of farmers and breeders in Spain, COAG, warned that half of Spain’s farms are under threat of drought this year.

It said if it doesn’t rain much next month, rain-irrigated crops including cereals, olives, nuts and vineyards could lose between 60% and 80% of their production. .

But the association is also worried about crops that depend on irrigation, with reservoirs below 40 percent capacity in most of the south.

Spain’s leftist government plans to spend more than 570 million euros (£477 million) from the European Union’s pandemic recovery fund to make its irrigation system more efficient, including incorporating renewable energy systems.

Spain’s Agriculture Minister Luis Planas said this week the government will take emergency measures if it doesn’t rain for two weeks.

Those benefits will likely be limited in terms of economic benefits to reduce crop loss and farmers revenue.

INCREASE THE NUMBER OF THROUGH

Neighboring Portugal has also had little rain since last October. By the end of January, 45% of the country was suffering from severe or extreme drought conditions, according to the national weather agency IPMA.

Rainfall from October 1 to January was less than half of the annual average for that four-month period, alarming farmers who are running out of grass for their livestock.

It is unusual that even the north of Portugal is dry and wildfires have broken out this winter. In the South, crickets sang at night and mosquitoes appeared the traditional signs of summer.

The IPMA does not forecast any relief before the end of the month.

According to IPMA climatologist Vanda Pires, Portugal has seen an increase in the frequency of droughts over the past 20-30 years, with lower rainfall and higher temperatures.

Pires told the Associated Press that’s part of the climate change landscape.

And the outlook is bleak as scientists estimate that Portugal will see a 20% to 40% decrease in average annual rainfall by the end of the century.

The ruins of Aceredo are stirring up many emotions for the locals

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The ruins of Aceredo are stirring up many emotions for the localsCredit: Reuters
During particularly dry years, parts of the ancient village of Aceredo will be submerged

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During particularly dry years, parts of the ancient village of Aceredo will be submergedCredit: Reuters
Roofs protruding from the water have become a common sight every summer at the Lindoso . Reservoir

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Roofs protruding from the water have become a common sight every summer at the Lindoso . ReservoirCredit: AP
Never before has the skeleton of the village emerged intact in the middle of the often wet winter

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Never before has the skeleton of the village emerged intact in the middle of the often wet winterCredit: AP
Drought, born in the Galician basins due to lack of rain, has left Aceredo unprotected

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Drought, born in the Galician basins due to lack of rain, has left Aceredo unprotectedCredit: Getty
Locals hope that spring will bring much-needed relief

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Locals hope that spring will bring much-needed reliefCredit: Reuters
Areas in Spain and Portugal are facing severe shortages that could affect crop irrigation.

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Areas in Spain and Portugal are facing severe shortages that could affect crop irrigation.Credit: AP

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17641995/ghost-village-rises-from-cracked-earth-submerged-by-dam/ Ghost village rises from cracked ground 30 years after being engulfed by a dam as drought drains a reservoir in Spain

Bobby Allyn

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