The Netherlands declared an official water shortage on Wednesday as the low-lying “land of water” was hit by Europe’s sweltering summer.
The Dutch government said it was eyeing further measures to conserve water amid a drought, and authorities have already imposed limits on farming and shipping.
The country is protected from the sea by a famed system of dams, dykes and canals but remains particularly vulnerable to climate change.
“The Netherlands is a land of water, but here too our water is precious,” Infrastructure and Water Management Minister Mark Harbers said in a statement.
Parts of the Netherlands have already banned farmers from spraying their crops with surface water, in a blow for the world’s second largest agricultural exporter after the United States.
Some canal locks for shipping have also been suspended, with salt water from the sea creeping back into some rivers as their water levels are so low, Harbers added.
Priority would now be given to ensuring that vital dykes remain safe, and then to drinking water and energy supplies, he said.