Portugal faces dire drought, the worst in more than 20 years
Portugal faces dire drought, the worst in more than 20 years.
More than 80 percent of the country is officially classified as enduring "severe" or "extreme" drought — conditions among the country’s worst in more than 20 years.
Water has sporadically been scarce in this part of southern Europe for centuries.
As its flow has dwindled, so the reservoirs in the river basin, such as Pego do Altar, are drying up.
Large numbers of fish dying due to depleted oxygen levels would contaminate the area’s public drinking water, so a program to scoop out the doomed fish from four Sado basin reservoirs is now underway.
Silva and Farias catch on average between 1 and 1.5 metric tons a day.
Over about six weeks, officials expect to harvest more than 100 metric tons from the four Sado reservoirs.
Martins, the environment secretary, said a government drought monitoring committee is working to reconcile the conflicting demands placed on the region’s scarce water resources.
And energy companies want water to flow to keep up their hydroelectric production at dams.
Antonio Sardinha, an 82-year-old subsistence farmer with thick fingers and a sun-kissed complexion, says he has never seen the reservoir so low.