We’ve noticed on other walks that the river levels are much lower this year, but it wasn’t until we undertook the Almond Trail last week that we realised just how dry it is in the south. At the beginning of the walk last year, I had had to wade through the Beliche in bare feet, This year, almost a year to the day when we first did it, the river bed was dry.
The Walking Trail guide advises you to take a pause at both crossings of the Riberia do Beliche as it is an interesting watercourse. Well this year we did pause both times, but not to look at the water. There is no water.
Last month was the tenth consecutive month when rainfall has been below normal, with 95% of mainland Portugal currently experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions. Alentejo, is suffering as much as, if not more than, the Algarve, and it is estimated at least two months of rain is needed if water shortages are to be avoided. This isn’t though the first time the country has experienced severe droughts, there were also major droughts in 2011/12 and 2004/05.