ASSESSMENTS

A Severe Drought Turns Up the Heat on Europe’s Economic and Energy Crises

MIN READAug 9, 2022 | 20:49 GMT

A photo taken on July 5, 2022, shows the dried-up river bed of the Po River in Italy's Veneto region. Water levels in Italy's largest river have reached record lows amid a severe drought.

A photo taken on July 5, 2022, shows a dried-up section of the Po River in Italy's Veneto region. 

(ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)

A severe drought is magnifying Europe's economic risks by disrupting crop yields, energy production and trade flows at a time when the Continent is already facing soaring food and fuel prices, along with a possible energy crunch this winter. Several regions in Europe are facing severe droughts this summer, caused by the combination of a lack of precipitation and high temperatures since May. The European Commission estimated in July that nearly half of the European Union and large parts of the United Kingdom were experiencing ''warning'' levels of drought, with unusually dry conditions set to persist through September across most of Europe. Water shortages are particularly severe in the northern Italian lowlands, central Germany, eastern Hungary and northern Spain, as well as the southern, central and western regions of France, Portugal and the Netherlands. Scarce rain is affecting river discharge and depleting stored water volumes, impacting the energy sector for...

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