The Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET) predicts a heat wave this week as some regions are already experiencing an abnormally hot and dry spring. According to AEMET, temperatures will exceed 30 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday in much of the south of the country. Temperatures are even expected to reach 35 degrees in Andalusia and the regions of Valencia and Murcia in the southeast of the country. The mercury will climb further and could hit 40 degrees in the Guadalquivir Valley in Andalusia on Thursday and Friday.

In the height of summer, you would be right to point it out, but it is only April, remember. According to the AEMET, these temperatures will be 6 to 10 degrees higher than normal for the season. In some areas, they will be 15 to 20 degrees warmer than normal temperatures for this time of year.

Maybe we are getting used to what is kind of becoming the new normal. An analysis published on Sunday by the specialized site Carbon Brief1 shows that over the past 10 years, 40% of the world’s population has been affected by historic temperature records. “The analysis shows that the number of people experiencing record heat events has increased dramatically over the past three decades,” wrote the author of the text, the American climatologist Zeke Hausfather.

A little, you say! This is particularly striking in Western Europe, where almost all countries have experienced heat records over the past four years, Carbon Brief recalls. The UK, France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and of course Spain have been hit hard by historic heat waves.

It is not that simple. Some regions like Catalonia are facing their worst drought in decades. “We are in a difficult time hydrologically,” Spain’s Agriculture Minister Luis Planas acknowledged last week, pointing out that the chronic lack of rainfall in recent years has severely affected groundwater and water tables. Spanish tanks. “The intensity of this drought is terrible” and leads to a “chaotic” situation with heavy losses to be expected for cereal and oilseed crops, said the agricultural association Asaja. According to the main agricultural union in the country, COAG, 60% of Spanish agricultural land is “choked” by the lack of rainfall.

You understood correctly, indeed. Here is one example among many. On April 21, the authorities closed the gates of the Urgell irrigation canal in Catalonia. This makes it possible to irrigate 50,000 hectares of fields and orchards. “That means we’re going to have to sacrifice 9,000 hectares of alfalfa and we won’t be able to plant the planned 7,000 hectares of maize. We have water to drip irrigate fruit trees, mainly apple and pear trees, so that they do not die. It is to be hoped that this will be enough,” the president of the Urgell Canal Irrigators’ Community, Amadeu Ros Farré, told Le Monde daily.

It’s the least we can say. Wine producers like Patricio Brongo are also among them. The Quebecer who has lived in a small village an hour’s drive from the city of Bilbao for 10 years says that “last year [the drought] was particularly stressful for the vines”. “Everyone is a little bit worried in the middle. If there is no rain in May and it continues to be hot like this, it will be problematic,” he said. Since his arrival in the country, he says he has observed that there is less rain and that the temperatures are higher and higher.

It depends on what you mean by “deprived of water”. In Catalonia, residents have been limited to 230 liters of water a day since February 28. By way of comparison, Quebecers used an average of 521 liters of water per day in 2020. According to the director of the Catalan Water Agency, Samuel Reyes, if there is not enough rain in the coming months, it will take maybe activate the “emergency phase” which foresees water cuts next September.