I don't expect that Elvis was thinking of Spain when he recorded his magnificent version of "When It Rains, It Really Pours," but the song is certainly an appropriate one for much of Spain at the moment.
Even here in Guardamar, one of the driest parts of the country, we have had a couple of nights with some heavy rain (and no less than a small tornado in nearby Elche) and today the rain has hardly stopped. Heck, we have had to get the umbrellas out and have come home with wet shoes, something which rarely occurs here.
It is clear when driving and walking around, that the locals are not used to wet weather. This is not the case in all parts of Spain, of course, for much of the country, especially the northern regions enjoy (?) a great deal of rain, spread over the whole year. Down here in the south-east, however, rain is very unusual and there are quite simply no installations to deal with it. There are, for example, no drains in the roads to remove the water from the gutters. As a result, roads, especially those on a slope, soon turn into small rivers, with huge amounts of water reaching the lower points. And roads are laid with little or no thought to water control: they have dips in them and are often metalled incorrectly, so that large pools soon form. To add to the problems, much of the land has very little vegetation, and when heavy rain falls onto and then runs off it, the rain takes a significant amount of soil with it, often depositing that soil in the roads, thereby producing dangerous patches of mud.
The locals are pleased with the rain, for the ground is extremely dry and this quantity of rain will save a lot of money that would otherwise have to be spent on irrigation. In fact, there is no shortage of water in Spain; more than enough water falls here, but it is not equally spread over the country, with far more in the north than in the south. As with many other things in the country, however, poor management of resources leads to the crazy situation where the excess water of the northern regions is allowed to empty into the sea, while the southern regions spend huge amounts of money to develop and build desalination stations to take seawater and turn it into potable water. Madness!
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