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Dutch explain shortage in the “land of water” – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

The Netherlands declared an official water shortage on Wednesday as the low-lying “land of water” was hit by Europe’s hot summer.

The Dutch government said it was considering further water-saving measures amid a drought, and authorities have already imposed restrictions on agriculture and shipping.

The country is protected from the sea by a famous system of dams, dikes and canals, but remains particularly vulnerable to climate change.

“The Netherlands is a country of water, but here too our water is precious,” Infrastructure and Water Minister Mark Harbers said in a statement.

Parts of the Netherlands have already banned farmers from spraying their crops with surface water, a blow to the world’s second largest agricultural exporter after the United States.

Some canal locks for shipping have also been exposed, with seawater seeping back into some rivers because their water levels are so low, Harbers added.

The priority now is to secure the vital dikes and then the drinking water and energy supply, he said.

The drought is becoming “more visible in nature” and it is “conceivable that the drought will affect other societal interests,” added Harbers.

“That’s why I ask all Dutch people to think carefully about whether they should wash their car or fill their inflatable pool completely.”

Because about a third of its area is below sea level, the Netherlands has historically struggled with the weather.

Climate change has now stepped up its fight.

In July, the Netherlands recorded 39.4 °C, the third highest temperature since records began. A month earlier, it suffered its first deadly tornado in 30 years.

#Dutch #explain #shortage #land #water

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