Spain’s Catalonia region declares a drought emergency in 24 towns that will see water cuts

MADRID (AP) — Northeastern Spain’s Catalonia region declared a drought emergency in 24 municipalities Wednesday following a severe lack of rain in recent years.

Restrictions put in place as part of the emergency will principally affect agricultural and industrial water usage but not drinking water, Catalonia Water Agency Director Samuel Reyes said at a news conference.

The measures will come into force next week and affect 22 towns in Alt Empordà, Spain’s most northeastern county, and two towns just south of Barcelona, the regional capital. The municipalities have a combined population of 26,000, the agency said.

Irrigation water for agriculture will be reduced by 80% and supplies for industrial use by 25%. Filling swimming pools and watering gardens and parks will be prohibited. The emergency restrictions also ban the filling of public fountains and using fresh water to wash cars.

The towns also will have their per capita water allocations reduced from 230 liters (61 gallons) per day a day to 200 liters (about 53 gallons). The supplies are intended for residential uses such as washing and public services such as street cleaning.

The Catalonia Water Agency said residents normally use 116 liters (about 31 gallons) of water daily, and Reyes urged people to try to reduce that to 90 liters (about 24 gallons).

Catalonia has been one of the regions hardest hit by a drought affecting much of Spain for the past two years. Parts of Catalonia and the Andalusia region in southern Spain already adopted less-stringent limits on water use because of the drought.

Spain’s Ecological Transition Ministry said Wednesday that reservoirs nationally were at 42% of their capacity.


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