Tourists visiting Catalonia could be subject to water restrictions due to ‘drought emergency’ | World News

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Tourists visiting Catalonia in Spain could be subject to water restrictions as the region battles a “drought emergency”, the regional government has said.

Catalan officials warned a restriction of 100 litres (26 gallons) per tourist per day for hotels would go into effect if a municipality fails to keep domestic water use by residents below established limits for three consecutive months.

Currently, each resident in the northeastern region uses 160 litres of water per day – including for both washing and drinking – while the average tourist in the capital of Barcelona uses 163 litres of water a day.

This figure rose to more than 240 litres for luxury hotels, according to Barcelona’s hotel guild.

But there has been mounting pressure by water conservationist groups to limit this usage during the drought.

It comes after tourists arriving at Barcelona’s airport last month were met with large signs in English that read: “Drought alert. During your stay, save water”.

Tourists walk past a sign at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport alerting them of severe drought in Spain's northeastern region and urging them to save water due to low reservoir levels, as Catalonia declares state of emergency, in Barcelona, Spain, March 7, 2024. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Image:
Drought warning sign at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. Pic: Reuters

At the time, Catalan officials appealed for tourists to act responsibly, but were also adamant the drought should not put them off coming to the Spanish city and region, where tourism accounts for 12% of the local economy.

On Tuesday, the Catalan government said limits would not include the water used to fill swimming pools.

It also loosened restrictions that prohibited the filling of swimming pools with fresh water.

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Under the new measure, a privately owned swimming pool can be refilled in a severe drought if authorities declare it a “climate refuge” open to residents seeking relief from the heat.

A water emergency was declared back in February to combat regional drought caused by climate change.

Limitations included reducing average water use by 80% for crop irrigation, 50% for herd animals and 25% for industry.

A view shows the Boadella reservoir, as the Iberian peninsula is at its driest in 1,200 years, near the Spanish-French border, in Darnius, Spain January 27 , 2024. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Image:
An empty Boadella reservoir near the Spanish-French border. Pic: Reuters

Although Catalonia has borne the brunt of the drought, it has also impacted parts of the South.

However, a relatively wet spring has helped fill reservoirs for Barcelona to 18%, up from 15%.

Read original article here.

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