Spain declares state of emergency in Catalonia over water shortage

Spain has declared a state of emergency starting from Friday in Barcelona and 201 other municipalities in the Catalonia region in north-east due to water shortages in in the country.

The regional government announced this development on Thursday.

There will be new restrictions on consumption affecting some 6 million people in the provinces of Barcelona and Girona out of a total population of around 8 million in Catalonia.

The government reports that  three dozen municipalities in the province of Tarragona have already been under a state of emergency for several months.

Other areas have been under a so-called pre-emergency state. Catalonia is suffering from the worst drought since records began around a century ago, the regional president, Pere Aragonès said.

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However, water consumption for the popular vacation destination is now limited to a maximum of 200 litres per person per day.

It said that if the situation deteriorates even more, the limit can be reduced in a second phase to 180 litres and to 160 litres in a third phase.

The regional capital of Barcelona in comparison currently averages 173 litres, while larger municipalities average over 200 litres in some cases.

During the pre-emergency phase, a limit of 230 liters per capita per day was applied.

Until further notice, it is not permitted to wash cars, pavements or roads, while filling up swimming pools is also prohibited.

Public and private gardens and parks may only be watered under certain circumstances and only with recycled water.

Farmers will be hit hard and have to reduce their consumption by 80 percent.

Livestock farming has to cut consumption by 50 percent and the industry by 25 percent.

Penalties of up to €150,000 were imposed for violations.

 

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