According to Reuters, devastating heat waves covered parts of Europe and the US last month.
According to the Dutch government, drought could quickly become an urgent problem in the country, leading to river flooding and impeding navigation. In addition, the irrigation dyke systems used to regulate the water flow for agriculture, irrigation and domestic use may cease to function due to the absence of water.
“Water shortage is having a negative impact on shipping and agricultural production in the Netherlands. We call our homeland the land of water, but here water is also very precious to us.” Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Irrigation Management Mark Harbers said.
Mr. Mark Harbers urged people: “Think twice before washing your car or changing the water in your swimming pool.”
Currently, barges on the lower Rhine, a key route for transporting coal from Rotterdam to German power and steel producers, are operating at less than half capacity.
The government said the supply of drinking water was not threatened and that new measures were not needed yet, but that the measures could also be rolled out domestically in the coming weeks.
Amid soaring temperatures last month, authorities in Amsterdam were forced to actively spray water on bridges to prevent them from expanding.
The Netherlands is the latest country to feel the effects of the drought. Last month, the European Union warned that the continent was facing one of its toughest years in the face of natural disasters such as drought and wildfires caused by climate change.
This is the fifth time in the century the Netherlands has officially declared a water shortage. The most severe time was in 2003 when the drought in this country almost reached level 3. Currently, the Netherlands is at level 2.