20th June 2024
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Catalonia declares drought emergency that affects six million residents

On Thursday, the Catalan government officially declared a drought emergency in the Ter-Llobregat system, the primary water source for six million residents across Catalonia.

The declaration initiates stringent measures affecting 202 municipalities, including Barcelona and its metropolitan area, where the majority of the population resides.

The red alert signifies heightened water restrictions across various sectors, encompassing agriculture, industry, and urban and recreational activities.

The initial step towards curbing water consumption involves reducing the daily maximum allowed per person to 200 litres, a decrease of 10 litres from the previous limit.

Significant restrictions on agriculture include an 80% reduction in irrigation, along with a 50% cut in water use for livestock. Industrial and urban water consumption will also see a 25% reduction.

Recreational water activities will be banned, except under certain circumstances. The irrigation of public or private gardens will be permitted only with groundwater or recycled water to maintain the well-being of urban trees for pedestrian safety.

Sports facilities can use recycled water for field irrigation but must implement compensatory measures, such as closing showers.

Public and private indoor pools, as well as year-round outdoor pools for sports clubs, may be partially refilled if water usage is offset by conservation efforts.

Catalan President Pere Aragonès, while announcing these restrictions, stressed the unprecedented intensity of the drought, stating that the country has not received adequate rainfall in the past three years.

‘I am confident that with collaboration, foresight, and a united effort, we will overcome the drought,’ Aragonès added.

During the drought emergency, cruise ships affiliated with the International Cruise Lines Association (CLIA), responsible for 90% of the vessels at the Port of Barcelona, will refrain from loading water there. The industry asserts that ships can generate over 90% of their required fresh water and will only seek water from the port in emergency situations.

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