Spain, Portugal struggle with extreme drought

About 1.38 million hectares (3.4 million acres) of grains, sunflowers and olive trees have been affected by drought or frost in Spain as of the end of October, according to Spanish farming insurance agency Agroseguro.
Ortiz said his grain harvest has plunged 70 percent from last year and he expects to harvest half as many olives.
The situation is just as dire for farmers across the border in neighbouring Portugal.
"All crops are suffering from this lack of water in our region, from olives to grains and grapes," said Fremelinda Carvalho, the president of the association of farmers on Portalegre in central Portugal.
The dry fields and forests have fuelled wildfires, which killed 109 people this year in Portugal and five in Galicia, many dying in their cars as they tried to flee the flames.
– Water conflicts – Water reservoirs are at abnormally low levels.
The Tagus River "can not support" this aqueduct, said Antonio Luengo, the head of the agency that regulates water in Spain’s Castilla-La Mancha region.
– Climate risks – Experts warn droughts are likely to become more frequent and severe in the region.
Higher temperatures and rarer and more intense rains.
He cited as examples the use of water to irrigate trees that do not normally need much water such as olive and almond trees, and the planting of water intensive crops that are not suited to Spain’s Mediterranean climate.

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