Spain’s Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB) has asked the country’s government for priority access to water, warning the drought in the country may cause product shortages.

The high temperatures recorded in Spain and the drought in large areas of the country are “having a strong impact on agriculture and livestock and, therefore, on the food processing industry”, the trade body said.

The lack of rainfall has caused a “serious situation” the FIAB said, with the association calling for investment in storage and irrigation infrastructure.

“It is essential that the food and beverage industry receives special treatment in these serious circumstances and has preferential access to water in order to guarantee a stable and safe supply of food and beverages,” Mauricio García de Quevedo, the general director of FIAB, said.

The trade body insisted manufacturers have been reducing the amount of water use in their manufacturing supply chains “without compromising hygiene or food safety requirements”.

Nevertheless, the FIAB has called for the promotion of non-conventional water resources such as reuse and desalination, a process where mineral components are removed from saline water.

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The association also argued for a new “hydrological plan” that creates new connections and transfers between water basins, as well as investment in water storage and irrigation.

A report issued by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) said 44% of the combined territory of the EU and the UK is at a “warning” drought level, with a further 9% ranked at “alert” level – proportions the researchers described as “staggering”.

The “warning” classification is defined by a deficit in soil moisture. The “alert” category speaks of vegetation stress following a deficit in soil moisture.

In its report, the JRC said the “drought hazard” had been increasing in recent months, pointing to France, western Germany, “several Mediterranean regions” – including parts of Italy and Greece – and Romania.

In May, the Spanish government announced a €2.2bn ($2.4bn) plan to help farmers and avoid food shortages.

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