Catalonia declares emergency over severe drought, imposes stringent water restrictions
The authorities in Catalonia alerted the public to a pre-crisis state last November. Now, due to high temperatures and further depletion of the already low water reserves in reservoirs, a state of emergency was deemed necessary.
The restrictions set in force include prohibiting washing cars, watering gardens, and filling pools, with a penalty set at up to 50 euros (approx. $59 USD). Pere Aragonès, President of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia, emphasized that the region is dealing with a new climate reality marked by more intense and periodic droughts. The restrictions will affect six million residents in Barcelona and 201 neighboring municipalities in northeastern Spain.
The official of the Catalan government, Laura Vilagrà, expressed her concern to Spanish radio station RNE on Wednesday, stating, "Our reserves are below 16 percent. The situation in Barcelona and the outskirts of Girona is critical, urging us to enact more stringent measures."
The authorities have put forth a three-stage plan in response to the drought's severity. In the first stage, the daily water consumption per individual is limited to approximately 53 gallons. In the second stage, it reduces to about 48 gallons; and in the most critical stage it will be restricted to 42 gallons. The average water usage generally sits at about 35 gallons per day.
Moreover, the authorities also plan to reduce water pressure. The implementation of this policy in households is expected in July. The potential penalties to local governments are intended as a harsh reminder to monitor water consumption more mindfully.