AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: Due to the hot, dry summer affecting most of Europe, the Dutch government has declared a national water shortage, formed a national team to manage supplies, and urged the public to save water.
The Netherlands is the latest country to feel the effects of the dry conditions on the continent.
"The water shortage is already having a negative effect on shipping and agriculture, in particular," said Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers.
He also urged the public "to think carefully about whether they should wash their cars or completely fill their inflatable swimming pools. The Netherlands is a water country, but our water is precious here, too."
Over the summer, the Netherlands has seen little rainfall, and less water has streamed into the country because of dry conditions further north and east in Europe.
However, drinking water supplies are not threatened, and new measures are not yet necessary but could be "in coming weeks," the government said.
Water authorities in parts of the country have already restricted farmers from spraying crops with water, while low water levels have stopped several small ferries from crossing rivers and hindered freight-carrying barges that travel around the country's rivers.
Last month, authorities in Amsterdam were forced to spray water on mechanical bridges to stop them from expanding and jamming shut due to hot weather.
In July, the European Union's executive said because of climate change, the continent is facing one of its most difficult years in terms of natural disasters such as droughts and wildfires.