Austria is heading towards a drought. The lack of rain has caused the levels of groundwater reserves to be very low in half of the country.
The situation is worrying in the east. Example of this is the Zicksee lake, which has completely dried up. Now, instead of fishing, the inhabitants carry out other activities in the area, such as looking for coins and old jewels, but they say they are still shocked by the number of fish that have died in recent months.
“We knew the lake was going to dry up. If officials had started rescuing the fish sooner, we could have saved many more. It was devastating to see… there were bins filling up with dead fish being taken away,” says Walter, a local resident.
Normally at this time there should be much more snow in the Alps. In western Austria it has rained a third less this winterand in Italy only half of normal, something that has serious consequences for large parts of Europe.
Klaus Haslinger, climatólogo de Geosphere Austriathe country’s weather service, states: “We expect significantly less snowmelt, less meltwater reaching rivers and therefore lower water levels in the coming weeks and months. Even if we were to measure abundant rainfall in the coming weeks, the measurement in our devices would indicate that this would not yet alleviate the situation of groundwater; it would take a lot more rain for weeks and months to replenish the groundwater reservoirss”.
Meanwhile, the Austrian government wants to invest more in drinking water infrastructure. For example, deeper wells to ensure the supply of water to the population.