Greece is in danger of suffering a severe and prolonged drought during the next 50 years if current practices are not changed, scientists told Parliament’s environmental committee yesterday. A team comprising some of the country’s top environmental experts warned MPs that climate change could have a devastating effect on Greece in the coming years. «The most significant development is the disruption of the water balance, which has been observed in the most dramatic form in Greece,» said Christos Zerefos, the president of the National Observatory in Athens. «The recession of the water table is evident even in parts of the country where there has not been any huge draw on resources,» he added. The professor argued that Greece could soon suffer a shortage of water. «Over the last 30 years, there has been a decline by 20 percent of rainfall in the Mediterranean. This reduction will continue over the next 50 years so the drought problem in Greece will be huge, with an impact not only on farming but also on tourism, health and other sectors,» said Zerefos. The scientists told MPs that significant changes in the environment are imminent. «It has been forecast that the seafront areas around Thessaloniki will be one of the four zones in the Mediterranean that will be the first to experience negative consequences when the polar icecaps melt,» said Yiannis Ziomas, an associate professor at the National Technical University of Athens. «At the same time, Crete will experience heavy rainfall in the winter and drier summers. These developments are not in the distant future,» said Ziomas, who argued that Greece has to adopt more sources of renewable energy.