You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Lakes and rivers in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, China and US run dry as drought and water shortages grip Northern Hemisphere

ABC News (AU) logo ABC News (AU) 20/08/2022

Stark images from around the Northern Hemisphere show the severity of droughts gripping countries across Europe, as well as in China and the United States.

A UN report has warned that droughts have become longer and more frequent since 2000, with climate change the major factor. 

In Germany, falling water levels of the River Rhine have left it impassable to many boats. 

As one of Europe's great working rivers, the Rhine is usually filled with vessels transporting raw materials and products to and from power plants and factories along the waterway.

However, low water levels across the country are seeing "hunger stones" — known locally as Hungerstein — re-emerge on riverbeds. 

Further south, Spain is facing its worst drought on record, with research suggesting the Iberian Peninsula could be the driest it has been for more than 1,000 years.

Its drought has also led to the emergence of a prehistoric stone circle dubbed the "Spanish Stonehenge", which has only been fully visible four times since 1963. 

Neighbouring France is experiencing its worst drought since records began in 1958, its national weather agency says. 

On average, less than 1cm of rain fell across France in July and scores of villages have been left to rely on deliveries from water trucks as taps run dry.

Water restrictions are in place across much of the country, and the corn harvest is expected to be almost 20 per cent lower than 2021, according to France's Agriculture Ministry.

Italy's worst drought in decades has reduced Lake Garda — the country's largest lake — to near its lowest level ever recorded, exposing expanses of previously underwater rocks. 

Northern Italy hasn't seen significant rainfall for months, and snowfall this year was down by 70 per cent, drying up important rivers such as the Po, which flows across Italy's agricultural and industrial heartland.

Water levels in many of Switzerland's rivers and lakes have also fallen to very low levels. 

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the continent in China, regions that rely on the Yangtze River, are having to deploy pumps and cloud-seeding rockets as drought depletes water levels and threatens crops, with a heatwave set to last another two weeks.

In the United States — where more than 70 per cent of its land mass has been experiencing extreme or severe drought conditions — there are warnings over water supplies, with reservoirs in the Colorado basin — Lake Mead and Lake Powell — at historically low levels.

In Lake Mead, four sets of human remains have been discovered since May as the water levels drop. 

Police say there could be more bodies uncovered as the shoreline is exposed further. 


More from ABC News (AU)

ABC News (AU)
ABC News (AU)
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon