INTRODUCTION: Spain is in the grip of its second worst drought this century.Following an extremely hot summer and low rainfall in recent months, reservoirs throughout the country have been left with an average of only 37 per cent of capacity.This means many towns and villages are now relying on water deliveries by trucks.
GV/SVs Cows in parched and arid countryside (3 shots)
GV Rio Guadalix road sign
GV dried up river bed under bridge
GV Trickle of water in middle of river bed
GV PAN Farmhouse, animals searching for grazing
GV Farm tractor preparing land for ploughing (2 shots)
CU Thistle plant PULL BACK TO GV grassless terrain
GV Cattle eating hay laid down by farmer (2 shots)
GV PAN Parched countryside
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Spain is in the grip of its second worst drought this century.Following an extremely hot summer and low rainfall in recent months, reservoirs throughout the country have been left with an average of only 37 per cent of capacity.This means many towns and villages are now relying on water deliveries by trucks.
SYNOPSIS: The Spanish economy relies heavily on primary products, in particular livestock and agriculture.Last summer's heatwave has already cut the estimated grain harvest to about 50 per cent of the previous bumper crop.The government now plans to import 800,000 tonnes of feed grain to try and offset the shortfall.
In this area around the outskirts of Madrid -- the problem is serious, but not desperate.Even so, pasture for livestock is virtually non-existent.Spain's northern coast is the only area to escape the ravages of the drought.
The lack of water creates problems for winter sowing too.The soil is becoming too dry for machines and seeds as farmers delay ploughing in the hope that rain will come.Agriculture organisations are deeply concerned, knowing about 80 per cent of Spain's normal water supply is required for irrigation.The government says dam construction and water treatment projects are being speeded up, while weather forecasts give some hope of rain later this month (November).
The drought conditions have produced thistle growth, while leaving the pastures otherwise bare.Farmers have resorted to hand feeding of cattle, an expensive operation.
Fruit growers have also been hit by the drought.Olives are shrivelling on the trees and this important crop for Spain is expected to be reduced by up to 50 per cent.