Drought: State of exceptionality declared in 23 municipalities that depend on Llobregat headwaters 

Councils in Berguedà, Solsonès and Ripollès counties one step closer to state of emergency 

An empty Baells reservoir
An empty Baells reservoir / Nia Escolà

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

October 31, 2023 02:11 PM

October 31, 2023 04:17 PM

The Catalan government has declared a state of exceptionality due to the drought in 23 municipalities, including the counties of Berguedà, Solsonès and Ripollès (north-central Catalonia) that depend on the headwaters of the Llobregat river. 

The move was announced on Tuesday by the director of the Catalan Water Agency (ACA), Samuel Reyes, after a meeting of the Interdepartmental Drought Commission. 

The measure will come into force as soon as the resolution is published in the government's official gazette (DOGC), scheduled for next week. The state of exceptionality is orange on the government's five-step traffic light scale, one step away from the most serious scenario: a state of emergency. 

"The mountains used to be full of snow and that was a guarantee" of fresh water, the mayor of Cerc, one of the towns affected, told the Catalan News Agency (ACN). "Now everything is bare," Urbici Malagarriga added.

With this update, two areas are now in a normal situation, two are in alert, 11 in a state of exceptionality and three in a state of emergency.


The drought commission also stated that a state of emergency has been declared in the municipality of Vallirana, 25km west of Barcelona, at the request of the local council itself, as its own resources have been exhausted. 

The town of over 23,000 inhabitants has underground reserves at low levels and is not connected to any broader supply network.

Emergency in metropolitan area "inevitable" before end of year 

A water emergency is "inevitable" in the Barcelona metropolitan area before the end of the year, according to the director of the ACA. Currently it remains in a state of exceptionality. 

For months, an emergency situation was expected to arise in December but, according to Reyes, that could be brought forward due to low levels of rainfall in September and October.