A state of emergency has been declared in the Spanish region of Catalonia amid the worst drought in history. The measures in force since Thursday to ease the situation include restrictions on car washing and filling swimming pools. The use of showers on beaches is prohibited, and fountains will not work.
“This is the worst drought ever recorded,” Catalan President Pere Aragones said on Thursday, announcing the declaration of a state of emergency. According to Spain’s hydrological service, rainfall in Catalonia has been below average for three years, twice as long as the worst drought the region experienced in 2008, which lasted 18 months.
Authorities decided to declare a state of emergency after water reservoirs reached 16 percent of their maximum capacity.
Limits on daily water consumption
The water use restrictions took effect on Thursday and affect more than six million residents in 200 towns and villages, including Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city. In the first phase, they must limit water consumption to 200 liters per day per resident for municipal services. If the situation worsens, daily water use limits will be reduced to 180 liters in the second phase and to 160 liters in the third.
The Catalan water resources management company ACA drew residents’ attention to the need to use water responsibly and reminded that the optimal individual consumption should not exceed 90 liters per person per day.
A number of restrictions
The greatest restrictions will affect agriculture. The authorities want farmers to reduce water consumption by up to 80 percent, while in industry the restriction is to be 25 percent.
Residents are also prohibited from washing their cars outside designated facilities. Filling public or private swimming pools is completely prohibited as long as they have recirculation systems. The exception are swimming pools in sports facilities. There is also a ban on using showers on beaches, and fountains will not operate. According to a 2022 study, the Iberian Peninsula is the driest in 1,200 years.
Reuters, RTVE, El Pais, tvnmeteo.pl
Main photo source: Reuters