The Sau water reservoir whose low levels reveal the church hidden in its waters, Source: Depositphotos

Catalonia declares drought emergency: See the restrictions

Catalonia declares drought emergency: See the restrictions

Drought has really assumed the mantle of a chronic condition for this Mediterranean region

It’s the drought emergency status that everyone saw coming. For weeks now, the water levels in Catalan reservoirs have been falling drastically low and with no sign of significant rain or snow coming in the authorities had already been warning that this day would come.

On 1 February, the Catalan government declared a drought emergency for the Ter-Llobregat water caption system, which means that it applies to almost the entire eastern half of the Spanish autonomous region, including the major cities of Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona. This covers 80% of the Catalan population, who will have to make do with water consumption restrictions for the foreseeable future.

How much water will there be for Catalans?

People in Catalonia have already been living in a pre-emergency situation since November last year, but rather than improve things only got worse since the drought has become a chronic and recurring condition in the climate context of the Mediterranean region.

The restrictions themselves have been divided into three stages of severity according to the situation. The first step is the cap on water consumption to 200 litres per person per day. Businesses and local authorities have to learn to dehydrate.

Irrigation will have to be cut by a whopping 80%, which makes one wonder what this would mean for the upcoming harvest season. Industry and municipalities have to cut down by 25% for their parts.

Indoor and public pools, as well as outdoor pools in sports clubs, may be partially replenished if the water used is offset by water conservation measures.

Irrigation of public or private gardens will be allowed only if groundwater or recycled water is used to ensure that urban trees remain in good condition.

Most cruise ships will not be allowed to replenish their water tanks at the Barcelona port anymore, except for emergency situations.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU