The summer of 2017 broke a couple of temperature records, but there’s also a dark side to it: Dalmatia hasn’t seen any serious rain since May.
On Hvar island, precipitation amounts have drastically decreased over time: 29.3 mm of rainfall were recorded in May, 14.2 in June, and in July, the amount dropped to 0.7 mm. The same trend continued into the first half of August, and the ongoing drought is gravely affecting agriculture in the whole region, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.
Crops have been drying up for months now, including vineyards, fig trees, lavender fields and olive groves. Ivo Lučić Kompozitor, one of the leading olive oil makers in central Dalmatia, stated this year will be remembered by the extremely negative effects it had on agriculture.
“We haven’t seen any rain since spring, and we keep looking at the sky every day while our olives deteriorate. Whatever’s left of them is underdeveloped anyway and probably won’t liven up again. We’re going to have much less oil than before, and all of this will affect the future fertility of our olive trees. It’s worth noting that the leaves of fig trees have already dried up and fallen off, young olive groves and vineyards have deteriorated, just like other crops such as lavender fields, so we can rightfully say we’re witnessing a natural disaster on Hvar island at the moment”, said Kompozitor.
Meteorologists have announced a chance of heavy rain for today, but even if the forecast proves accurate, it won’t be of any use to the farmers as we’re facing yet another week of hot, dry weather.
Tihomir Galić, the director of the Department for Water Management in Split, said the most critical situation is to be found around Imotski, with the river Vrljika almost completely dried up. The situation is stable in the area around the rivers Neretva and Cetina.
Galić also stated he hopes that the natural water resources will suffice until the end of the tourist season. When the overall water consumption in the region goes back to average, the situation is expected to stabilise.