From: Associated Press
Published June 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Four Regions of Spain at Risk of Becoming Deserts, Government Report Says

MADRID, Spain — Four regions of Spain are at risk of turning slowly into deserts, the Environment Ministry said Thursday.

Andalusia in the south and Murcia and Valencia in the east could face the "high or very high" probability of desertification if preventive measures are not taken, as could the Canary Isles off the northwest coast of Africa, the ministry said in a report that did not give a timeframe for when the desertification might occur.

The government plans to spend 82.5 million euros (US$100 million) to try and stem the environmental degradation.

Among the plans announced were the creation of a national soil-erosion database, programs to provide plant cover to endangered areas and measures to cut down on water usage.

Spain is experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades.


According to data collected from November to March by the National Institute of Meteorology, rainfall has decreased to its lowest levels since 1947, when such information was first compiled.

Over the winter, Spain received an average of 70 millimeters (2.76 inches) of rain, instead of the normal 200 millimeters (7.87 inches). Combined with very cold weather, the drought could do serious damages to crops, especially olives and vines.

The last serious drought in Spain was in 1990 and lasted five years.

Source: Associated Press

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