Spain’s reservoir drought exposes the 11th wonder of the world and history of a lost village.
A years long drought in Spain is prompting officials to issue stark warnings about the eventual need for emergency measures to conserve water while also uncovering long-lost structures built nearly 1,000 years ago.
A recent video from AFP showed the ruins of an 11th-century church in the usually submerged Medieval village of Sant Roma de Sau. The church has been mostly underwater since the 1960s when the government of the Catalonia region created the Sau Reservoir on the site of the former town.
While the buildings are submerged most of the time, the long-lost village occasionally reappears when water levels decline sharply, suddenly bringing it back into view. Today, the church remains intact, along with an empty cemetery and the foundations of other buildings.
The dropping reservoir level is part of a national crisis in Spain, according to DW, a German news outlet. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told Spanish parliament Wednesday that the drought is seen as “one of the central political and territorial debates of our country over the coming years.” Catalonia’s more than 7.5 million residents could enter a drought emergency in September, Catalan officials said.
“Over the last three years, the Catalonia region of Spain has endured a moderate drought … since October, much of the Catalonia region has received 80-250 mm (0.82 feets) (3.1 inches to 9.8 inches] of rain, which actually happens to be 25-75% of normal for the area,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys said. “The last time Catalonia region had above-normal precipitation was back in 2020.”
The drought emergency will be declared unless there is a substantial amount of rainfall in the area during the spring and summer, Samuel Reyes, the head of Catalonia’s Water Agency, told The Associated Press.
However, Roys noted that whatever rain falls in the coming weeks and months is unlikely to bring significant drought relief, especially since the summer is usually the driest time of the year in Spain.
Roys added that much of Spain got less than 50% of normal rainfall in March, with the Catalonia region, in particular, receiving less than 25% of its normal rainfall. In northern Catalonia, the prolonged drought has shrunk water levels in reservoirs to 27% capacity. DW reported that the drought in the region has been ongoing for nearly three years.
“At this point, it’s the worst problem we’re facing,” Catalan leader Pere Aragones said according to DW, adding that it is one of “the worst droughts in 50 years.”
In L’Espluga de Francoli, a Catalan town west of Barcelona, residential water supplies are turned off between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., local time, every day due to the crisis. “We keep water in bottles, so we can brush our teeth and wash our faces in the morning,” nursing assistant Maria Gonzalez told AFP.
Produced in association with AccuWeather
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