Severe drought in Portugal has left reservoirs at extreme lows •

Severe drought in Portugal has left reservoirs at extreme lows

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory reveals the low water levels of the Alto Rabagão and Alto Lindoso reservoirs in northern Portugal

“A severe drought that began in November 2021 has worsened significantly, prompting officials in Portugal to limit the use of five hydroelectric dams for power production and irrigation after some reservoirs reached significant lows,” said NASA.

According to Spain’s State Meteorological Agency. the driest January in 20 years has depleted reservoirs to below 45 percent of their capacity, with Andalusia in the south and Catalonia in the northeast experiencing the worst drought conditions.

The Portuguese Institute of Meteorology reported that by January, nearly all of the country was experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions.

“In the middle of what would normally be the wet winter season, 54 percent of the country was experiencing moderate drought, 34 percent was in severe drought, and 11 percent was in extreme drought,” said NASA.

Portuguese officials recently announced the Alto Lindoso and three other dam-reservoir systems will limit water usage for power generation to a few hours a week. Another dam, Bravura, will not be used for irrigation. Farmers are struggling to find sufficient grazing land for their livestock across the region. 

“The depletion of the Alto Lindoso reservoir – which sits along the border of Spain and Portugal – to 15 percent capacity has exposed the long-submerged town of Aceredo, Spain. The reemergence of the village, which was inundated when the reservoir was filled in 1992, has brought tourists to visit the ruins,” reported NASA.

The images were acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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