Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dry winter causing worry

Farmland near Vallehermoso, La Gomera
While the very dry winter in the Canary Islands this year may be exactly what tourists expect and want to experience when they spend their holidays here, the prolonged drought is a worrying fact for locals and especially the farming community. 
Some rain fell in October and November but there was hardly a drop since then and February continues the same trend. Farming has been particularly badly affected and the Canarian minister for agriculture has recently stated in parliament that potato crops for example could be down by as much as 50-60 % this winter season. 
Here in La Gomera there were some heavier falls of rain in the island's north and northeast, almost filling some water reservoirs used for irrigation, but the rest of the island got very little rain, so that some farmers didn't even bother planting crops that need the winter precipitation. Some bored wells in lower farmland near the sea have also been reported to gradually become more saline and potentially damaging to banana crops.
The drinking water supply which comes almost exclusively from tapped springs here has remained fairly stable up to now. However the administration  of the municipality of Vallerhermoso in La Gomera's northwest, an area normally receiving abundant rainfalls in winter, has restricted the use of drinking water and banned its use for the watering of plants and gardens as well as washing cars as a precautionary measure during the drought.
Water reservoir for irrigation in Las Rosas in La Gomera's north is still almost full after heavy autumn rain in the area

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