Water Restrictions in Catalonia | God's World News

Water Restrictions in Catalonia

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    An abandoned boat lies on cracked ground at the Sau reservoir in Vilanova de Sau, about 62 miles north of Barcelona, Spain. Water filled only 5% of the reservoir’s capacity in January 2024. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)
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    Joan Torrent walks toward his house carrying two plastic jugs of water filled at a natural spring in Gualba, about 31 miles northwest of Barcelona, Spain. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)
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Spain’s drought-stricken Catalonia region is considering imposing water restrictions on visitors. The Catalan government announced on Tuesday that limits would apply to tourists in the driest parts of the region. Officials say that reducing residents’ usage is the best way to avoid tourist water limits.

Under possible restraints, hotels would be allowed 26 gallons per tourist per day. The limit would go into effect if a city doesn’t keep home water use by residents below established thresholds. Officials created those rules under the region’s current “drought emergency.”

Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city and the Catalonia regional capital. Residents use over 42 gallons of water per person per day. Catalonia’s water agency says that’s well below the current limit of nearly 53 gallons. The threshold includes use by residents for both washing and drinking.

Tourism represents nearly 12% of Spain’s economy. But water conservation groups are pushing for water use limits for tourists during the drought.

According to Barcelona’s hotel guild, the average tourist to the city in 2022 used some 43 gallons per day. That figure rose to over 63 gallons for luxury hotels.

Also on Tuesday, the Catalan government loosened restrictions that prohibit filling swimming pools with fresh water. Under the new measure, people can fill a privately owned pool in a severe drought—if authorities declare it a “climate refuge” for residents seeking relief from the heat.

Catalonia, in the country’s northeast, has borne the brunt of a drought that also reaches parts of southern Spain. However, a wet spring this year provided some relief.

Rains during Holy Week were a blessing for large swaths of Spain, even if the weather put a damper on the country’s intensely celebrated Easter.

Reservoirs for Barcelona and surrounding areas that were at 15% of their capacity are now 18% full.

Even so, Catalonia maintains restrictions declared in February. The emergency limits were meant to combat a drought authorities call historic. Those limits include reducing average water use by 80% for crops, 50% for herd animals, and 25% for industry.

David Mascort is Catalonia’s environmental chief. He told Reuters, “We have been waiting for it to rain as it should for three years.”

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. — Psalm 63:1