Mediterranean sends SOS – Experts warn of risk of water shortage

The scientific community is sounding the alarm about the conditions lack of water and drought Mediterrian sea. The continuous increase in temperature and decrease in precipitation are the main reason for the concern of scientists about the availability of water resources.

“We will adapt to the temperature. Where we can’t adapt is water”

Areas that receive large numbers of visitors, especially during the tourist season, are put under the microscope, and as a result, the demand for water increases significantly. According to the report of the World Economic Forum, the Southern Mediterranean countries, especially the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), are at the center of this crisis. lack of water as hosted 15 out of 20 countries with the greatest water scarcity in the world.

In addition, the Commission’s JRC report on droughts in the Mediterranean, published in February this year on ongoing droughts and their impact on the wider region, stated that long-term average temperatures, a warm season and insufficient rainfall have led to severe drought conditions in the Mediterranean. A region covering numerous areas in southern Italy, southern Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

He also pointed out that a warmer summer is expected in southern Italy, Greece, Mediterranean islands and northern Africa based on seasonal forecasts, and added that since the severity of the drought is expected to continue, concerns about its impact on agriculture and ecosystems are increasing. , drinking water availability and energy production.

The development of tourism creates additional pressure

According to the Athens-Macedonia News Agency, within the framework of the 3rd International Water Forum, Fotis Maris, rector of the Democritus University of Thrace and professor of Mountain Water Management, according to the researches and measurements carried out in the Mediterranean region and in Greece, the decrease in flows due to the decrease in rainfall is on average 15-20 It is estimated in %.

“You understand that this quantity of water is a critical quantity, and it is expressed in the ability to meet the needs for the functioning of society. Stronger in other areas, less so in others. Thus, we are obliged to re-evaluate all our systems initially for their adequacy to meet both current and future needs. It’s a big job to do, and at the same time decisions are being made to regulate consumption, where previously scientists and the state have informed the responsible citizen to understand what changes need to be made to adapt. succeed,” notes Mr. Maris.

As for Greece, as he pointed out, the development of the local economy and the development of tourism create great pressures, one of which is the great need for drinking water. “The increase in arrivals every year is very positive, it’s good for the economy and the people coming to the country, but it creates additional pressure. Our rains have decreased, but our needs are increasing,” he emphasizes, adding that there is a need in places, small islands, large islands, areas with little rain or drought. adapted plans to meet all these needs and at the same time make improvements towards sustainable water management.

Decreasing rainfall increases the problem of water scarcity

As Mr. Maris explained, this year’s reduction in rainfall is a factor that aggravates the problem of water scarcity for the South Aegean, Crete and the South Peloponnese, mainly for areas where the problem is already recorded, as well as for large cities. based on surface flux.

“Precipitation in Greece is currently characterized by two maxima. One maximum is the end of November and December, and the second maximum is the end of May – the beginning of June. So you understand how severe and how big our shortfall to date will be will be judged by how the rain behaves in the near term up to June 15th. If we don’t have the expected rainfall during this period, which is the second highest rainfall in the country, the problem will remain significant in the areas already recorded. South Aegean, Crete, South Peloponnese and of course in big cities that rely on surface water”.

By 2050, the demand for water is predicted to double or even triple

In addition, according to data presented by Panagiotis Nastos, Professor of Climatology at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and President of the Hellenic Meteorological Society, during his speech at the 3rd International Water Forum, the demand for water is projected to double or double by 2050. even triple.

As for rainfall, Mr. Nastos noted that if the temperature increase reaches 2 degrees Celsius, according to climate models, precipitation is expected to decrease by about 10-15%, which will add to the rainfall. It was noted that a 20% decrease was observed, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“When we get above 1.5 degrees Celsius, you see the warming is going to be greater, especially in the Arctic regions over land and in the Northern Hemisphere, so precipitation will be reduced mainly at high latitudes. In the tropics in the Mediterranean region, that’s about a 20% decline, which, as I said, is in addition to the existing decline we’re already suffering. Therefore, when we reach 2 degrees Celsius, the effects are much more intense,” he said, noting that the drought is currently more intense and more widespread, especially in the southeastern Mediterranean.

At the same time, as he points out, according to a recent study on Greece, they see aridity shifting from east to west, with the Pindos mountain range as the main barrier to climate change.

“We will adapt to the temperature. Where we can’t adapt is water,” Mr. Nastos emphasized.

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