Drought emergency declared in Figueres and 11 other towns in northern Catalonia

Group of towns depend on water supplies from Darnius Boadella reservoir, down to 17% of its capacity

The Darnius Boadella reservoir in northern Catalonia
The Darnius Boadella reservoir in northern Catalonia / Gemma Tubert
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

September 19, 2023 02:33 PM

September 20, 2023 07:44 PM

The Catalan government has declared a state of emergency in parts of northern Catalonia that depend on water from the Darnius Boadella reservoir.

The reservoir is currently down to just 17% of its capacity, and the 12 municipalities that depend on it, including the town of Figueres, have been placed in a state of emergency for the severe drought situation.

These towns will be added to the 22 that depend on the Muga River aquifer and the two that are supplied by the Riudecanyes reservoir in states of emergency.

Declaring a state of emergency means that tighter water restrictions will be introduced, and the Catalan Water Agency (ACA) proposed declaring the emergency with the aim of preventing towns from having supply problems.

The new declaration brings the total number of inhabitants in the emergency phase up to 149,000. The latest declaration sees 123,080 from the Darnius Boadella reservoir area added to the 24,399 from the Fluvià Muga aquifer and 1,692 from Riudecanyes.

Water restrictions

Water use will be capped at 200 liters per inhabitant per day on average. 

Agricultural irrigation will not be permitted, only enough irrigation for the survival of crops. Water consumption must be reduced by 25% in industrial use as well as in recreational use.

It will be prohibited to water gardens and green areas (public and private), use water for ornamental fountains, artificial lakes, freshwater pools, and to wash vehicles, except in specific cleaning establishments.

Local administrations, through their emergency plans, can establish additional restrictions on the use of water in sports, public/private facilities and in recreational areas.

Barcelona metropolitan area 

The Catalan Water Agency predicts that a large part of the Ter-Llobregat water system that affects the metropolitan area of Barcelona may now enter an emergency phase due to the drought during the first half of December

That is a little later than had been anticipated previously – the end of November, ACA director Samuel Reyes said. 

At the beginning of every month the forecast is redone, taking into account the levels of the reservoirs and the rain forecast for the following weeks, Reyes explained. 

The average level of the reservoirs of the internal basins is 23%. Consumption has been reduced by 7% since August of last year, Reyes added.