Greece and other countries of Southern Europe, as well as Turkey, are seen facing increased water shortages over the next 30 years, according to a report this month by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC).
The report examines a roughly 30-year period (2026-2055) around the time when global warming is expected to result in a rise of 2 degrees Celsius worlwide, 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.
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.