Catalonia lifts further drought restrictions affecting majority of residents

Recent rains have more than doubled reservoirs' stock in two months

The old church at the Pantà de Sau reservoir, which has become the indicator of drought in Catalonia.
The old church at the Pantà de Sau reservoir, which has become the indicator of drought in Catalonia. / Laura Busquets
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 18, 2024 01:15 PM

June 19, 2024 10:32 AM

The severe drought that has gripped Catalonia for the past three years has been eased by recent rains.  

In just three months, the capacity of the reservoirs in the Ter-Llobregat area, which supplies water to most of Catalonia's inhabitants, has more than doubled.  

In April, the reservoirs were at 16.4% of their capacity and have now risen to 38.5%.  

As a result, the Catalan government has decided to lift several water restrictions for people living in the Ter-Llobregat area, which includes Barcelona and its metropolitan region.  

The state of emergency has been downgraded from 'exceptional' to 'alert,' a situation not seen since November 2022.

With the return to the alert status, the daily water limit per person will increase from 230 to 250 liters.

The new status also eases restrictions on water use for agriculture and farming, as well as industrial and recreational water use.

The use of water for public and private gardens and green spaces will now be allowed, as well as watering lawns.

Restrictions on filling swimming pools will also be eased, although some restrictions will remain.

The water-saving measures also forbid filling decorative fountains, such as the famous Font Màgica in Montjuïc, which has been shut off since early 2023.

"Under normal conditions, there should be no problem with consuming water as we have in previous summers, considering the water reserves we have," David Mascort, sitting climate action minister, said.


The Catalan government's acting spokesperson, Patrícia Plaja, said the recent rains have resolved an "almost catastrophic" situation but urged caution.  

"Rains have clearly improved the situation, but the drought is not over," she said. 

Despite the improvement in the situation, Plaja announced that the government is continuing to work to increase the availability of water by building wells and developing desalination plants.