Farmers in parts of the Netherlands have been restricted from using water to irrigate their crops due to an ongoing drought.

The Dutch government yesterday (Wednesday, August 3) declared a national acute water shortage due to unusually dry summer conditions.

No rain is currently forecast in the country for the next fortnight.

In some areas of the Netherlands, pumps and canal locks have been used to properly distribute water between the rivers.

The Dutch minister for infrastructure and water management, Mark Harbers explained that the water shortage is already having a negative impact on agriculture and shipping in particular.

Farmers in the provinces of Zeeland and Limburg have been banned from using surface water when spraying crops, while there has also been some canal lock restrictions for ships.

Harbers said that there is currently no shortage of drinking water.

“The Netherlands is a water country, but here too our water is precious,” Harbers commented.

“The drought is also becoming increasingly visible in nature. Based on current developments, it is conceivable that the drought will affect more social interests,” he added.

The minister said that the government is working with various state agencies to keep the situation manageable, but he appealed to all Dutch people to think carefully about using water for activities such as washing cars or filling paddling pools.

The Dutch government warned that as the persistent drought is expected to continue for some time to come, new measures may follow in the coming weeks to distribute water.

Harbers outlined that priority would first be given to save the country’s dykes, followed by ensuring that drinking water and energy supplies continue to function.