Portugal: Government officially declares severe, extreme drought on mainland

Portugal’s government officially recognised on Monday the existence of a situation of severe and extreme agrometeorological drought across the mainland, “which constitutes an adverse climatic phenomenon, with negative repercussions on agricultural activity”.

The official recognition was published today in the Official Gazette through a dispatch of 21 June from the minister of agriculture and food, Maria do Céu Antunes.

The order cites data from agrometeorological and hydrological monitoring to say that the drought situation on the mainland, after a slight improvement in March and April, “again showed a significant worsening in May and June 2022 with consequent negative impacts on farming.

In May, mainland Portugal had about 97.1 % of its territory in severe drought and 1.4 % in extreme drought. “This situation worsened in the first half of June with the entire mainland territory in a situation of severe or extreme drought,” the document says.

On June 15, the hydrological year 2021/22 showed an accumulated precipitation deficit of 408 millimetres less than normal, says the dispatch, which also refers to the decrease in the volume of water stored in most river basins.

The official recognition of a situation of extreme or severe drought in mainland Portugal aims to minimise the effects of drought on agriculture and on the income of farmers.

The order refers to Article 29 of Decree Law 32/2022 (approving the organisation and functioning of the XXIII constitutional government), which refers to the organisation and powers of the ministry of agriculture, including the implementation of policies on agriculture and the coordination and application of national and European funds for agriculture.