The extreme heat and the dry summer months, which affected the whole continent, especially southern Europe, brought the rivers to the point of drying out. In Italy, the country’s longest river, the Po, which irrigates one-third of the agricultural land, has completely dried up in places.
A state of emergency has been declared around the Po, which flows from the Alps into the Adriatic Sea. Farmers say salty seawater seeps into the falling river, destroying crops. In the Rhine, one of the continent’s largest waterways, the water level dropped to 40 cm. The low water level adversely affects the passage of ships carrying coal to power plants on the waterfront.
Drought of 500 Years
Starting from the Swedish Alps to Germany , Austria, France and the Netherlands, the depth of the 1,232 km waterway decreased to 27 cm in 2018. Experts say there has been no significant rainfall across the continent for two months, which could be the worst drought in 500 years. Heat waves increase evaporation, making conditions worse.