Published On: Sat, Feb 3rd, 2024
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European city loved by Brits facing strict water restrictions on water and pools | Travel News | Travel

A European city that is among the favourite hotspot for Brits is reportedly grappling with water limits and swimming pool bans as authorities declare a state of emergency over a historic drought.

Residents of Catalonia in Spain have been impacted by the tighter water-saving measures. The northeastern region has experienced below-average rainfall for 40 consecutive months, leading to a drastic reduction in reservoir levels.

Previously, authorities have prohibited activities such as watering lawns, filling private swimming pools, and washing cars.

Additionally, water pressure was been reduced in certain towns in the greater Barcelona area.

Today, the ban has been expanded to include the refilling of public pools and some limitations on public showers.

These measures, which were set to come into force on Friday, will impact approximately six million people across 200 villages, towns, and cities, including Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city.

The decision comes as reservoir levels dropped to nearly 16 percent of their capacity, reaching a historic low.

Authorities are considering the possibility of bringing in water by boat by summer, although concerns linger regarding the associated costs and the effectiveness of such a measure.

Around 6 million residents of Catalonia will be affected by the tighter water saving measures.

Regional chief Pere Aragones told a press briefing: “The drought will be overcome, but we’re in a new climate reality in which it’s more likely that there’ll be new droughts and that they’ll be more intense.”

The most severely affected area is northern Catalonia, extending up to the French border, while the southern region is in a relatively better condition, thanks to the presence of the Ebro River.

Southern Spain is also grappling with drought conditions. Since autumn 2020, Catalonia has experienced drier-than-average conditions, coinciding with broader Europe witnessing its hottest summer on record in 2022 and the most severe drought in 500 years.

The declaration of emergency status could potentially reduce the daily water allowance per person in Catalonia from 210 to 200 litres, encompassing both personal and municipal usage. The region’s water agency reports that the average resident uses 116 litres per day at home.

These restrictions may also see cuts in agriculture and industry, leading to an 80 percent reduction in water for crop irrigation, a 50 percent reduction for herd animals, and a 25 percent reduction for industrial purposes.

A 2022 study revealed that the Iberian Peninsula is experiencing its driest conditions in 1,200 years. Millions of euros are being allocated by Spanish authorities to enhance or construct new desalination plants in coastal regions severely affected by the drought.

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