|One of the reservoirs|
Monday, 24 June 2019
24.6.19 Jerez Awaits Official Declaration of Drought
There is no rain, and none is forecast for the rest of this hydrological year which ends in September. The situation in the province has become alarming with three of the five districts already in severe drought. There was virtually no rainfall in May, which was the driest on record. Accumulated rainfall so far this year in the area stands at approximately 500 litres/m2, way below last year and the 731.7 litre average for 1971-2000. Reservoirs contain 15% less water than a year ago, and they were only at 60% of capacity then. Vineyard irrigation is not permitted.
The Jerez area grows many other crops other than grapes, including sunflowers, cotton, beetroot and cereals, all of which have seen worrying drops in yield – cereals for example are down 35%, and there is barely enough water or pasture for livestock. Once drought is officially declared various forms of aid can be claimed from the EU or from agricultural insurance but their terms are tough. Naturally the vineyards will be affected too, but as vines have much deeper roots and grow on albariza which absorbs huge amounts of water, the effects will be less severe, and while yields will certainly be down, especially with a hot summer predicted, there will be a reduced risk of cryptogamic problems like mildew.