Agriculture, water flora and fauna affected by drought
In light of the current conditions of drought and heat, precautionary measures have been taken in Luxembourg regarding surface water and aquatic life, as well as the agricultural sector as a whole.
Given current weather conditions, all water levels in Luxembourg streams are well below the average of the minimum values of the last 10 years and thus are at a critical minimum for aquatic flora and fauna. Indeed, this lack of water is also affecting all flora and fauna of the fluvial environment. Moreover, with constant pressures and decreasing flow rates, the concentration of pollutants in the water is increasinh, since the dilution effect is less and hence the quality of the water is undergoing a significant degradation. As a result, any additional water withdrawal becomes compromising for the survival of aquatic organisms.
Consequently, the Water Management Administration has requested that the population do not take water from surface water. It has also emphasised that in any case, water withdrawal is subject to authorisation and that during low water periods, withdrawal from surface water, even if normally authorised, is prohibited except for cases defined by ministerial decrees.
In addition, Luxembourg Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Consumer Protection Fernand Etgen and the head of the ASTA meteorological service Dr. Andrew Ferrone today presented an update on the current drought. After a well-watered winter and a spring with near-average rainfall, the bad weather in early June caused damage estimated at half a million euros in the agricultural sector, mainly affecting buildings and roads. Since mid-June, however, significant rainfall has not been recorded in Luxembourg and this lack of rainfall, combined with above-average and scorching temperatures last week, triggered drought across the country.
Whilst it is still considered too early to know the exact effects of this drought, there is a fear that the lack of rain will have a negative impact on crops not yet harvested. In view of the situation, Fernand Etgen has reminded farmers of the possible insurance against drought and other bad weather, with a state contribution.