The Netherlands went public with water shortages on Wednesday as the low-lying “land of water” was hit by a sweltering European summer.
The Dutch government has said it is considering additional measures to conserve water amid the drought, and authorities have already imposed restrictions on agriculture and shipping.
The country is protected from the sea by a famous system of levees, dikes and canals, but remains particularly vulnerable to climate change.
“The Netherlands is a country of water, but here, too, our water is precious,” said Infrastructure and Water Minister Mark Harbers.
In parts of the Netherlands, farmers have already been banned from spraying their crops with surface water, a blow to the world’s second largest agricultural exporter after the US.
Harbers added that some canal locks for shipping have also been suspended, and salt water from the sea seeps back into some rivers because their water levels are very low.
Priority will now be given to securing vital dams, followed by potable water and power supplies, he said.