With worries that Athens could be one of the cities where it will be too hot to live in the future, Greece is also at serious risk of not having enough water to sustain itself with growing shortages expected over the next 30 years.
That was the grim conclusion of events also expected to affect other southern European countries and Turkey, as reported by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) after an analysis.
The report examined the period from 2026-205) around the time when global warming is expected to result in a rise of 2 degrees Celsius worldwide, assessing the impact of climate change if Europe meets the targets of the Paris climate agreement of December 2015.
JRC says significant reductions in groundwater recharge are expected in Greece, Spain and Portugal, which will have a widespread effect.
“Increasing droughts will lead to water scarcity and reduced hydropower resources in the Mediterranean region. This is likely to have knock-on effects on agriculture, energy, transport and food security,” according to the report, said Kathimerini.
Flooding and water scarcity in Europe will increase in the coming decades, but to a much lesser extent if the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change are met, it added.
Based on the findings, climate change is by far the biggest reason for the negative projections (by 80-90 pct), followed by land use and water demand changes (10-20 pct).
JRC says depending on the level of emission reductions, the 2 degree global temperature increase limit may be reached already around 2040 when there would be limited mitigation of the problem or much later this century.
The Greek research institute dioNEOsis earlier had said that “By the middle of the century, the average temperature in our country will increase, and the average rainfall will decrease, while the sea level will rise to a remarkable degree. Climate change is an ongoing, exceedingly important and very well-studied global phenomenon.”
On average, Greece had abundant water resources of 58 billion cubic metres per year and was using only about 12 percent at the turn of the century, 87 percent of that for agriculture, 3 percent by industry and only 10 percent for municipal water.
But water resources are especially scarce on the Greek islands, some of which are supplied by tanker ships or have turned to seawater desalination. Droughts are a recurrent phenomenon throughout Greece, including a drought in 1993 that was considered the worst in at least 50 years and another in 2007 when record fires spread in the summer.