It is an image that plagues large parts of Europe: extreme drought. Even the Netherlands, known for its exceptional water management, is facing an official water shortage . Research by Dutch newspaper NRC has shown that Western Europe hot temperatures have moved 500 kilometres north in the last 50 years, increasing summer air temperatures by more than 1°C .
The current Dutch summer now resembles a French summer of yesteryear. In the past decade, temperatures in the Netherlands were equivalent to those in large parts of central France in the 1970s. Instead, summers in central France are now roughly as warm as in northern Spain in the 1970s, which in turn now features southern Spain temperatures .
The climate crisis, severe droughts and population growth has put pressure on the scarce global freshwater resources and led to severe water shortages in many regions of the world. At the same time, global water demand is expected to rise by 55 % by 2050, and 25 % of large cities already suffer from water stress . Likewise, many municipalities in Spain and France had to cut off households’ drinkable water this summer.