Spain: Tourists in Catalonia face water restrictions as drought crisis deepens | Travel.

In northeastern Catalonia, Spain, the ongoing drought crisis has prompted the regional government to consider implementing water restrictions on tourists in the driest areas. If domestic water consumption is not significantly reduced, a limit of 100 liters per tourist per day for hotels may be enforced.

Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain and the capital of Catalonia, currently consumes 160 liters of water per resident per day, which is below the mandated limit of 200 liters. Water conservationists are urging for stricter measures to combat the drought, especially in the tourism sector, which accounts for nearly 12% of Spain’s economy.

Statistics from Barcelona’s hotel guild show that the average tourist in 2022 used around 163 liters of water per day, with luxury hotels exceeding 240 liters. However, these limits do not include water used for filling swimming pools.

As part of recent changes, the Catalan government is allowing the refilling of swimming pools with fresh water in severe drought conditions, provided that the pool is declared a “climate refuge” open to residents for cooling off. Additionally, private desalination installations are now permitted for use, a request that has been made by hotel owners.

Although Catalonia has experienced some relief from a wet spring, the region remains under a water emergency declared in February. Measures to reduce water usage by 80% for crop irrigation, 50% for herd animals, and 25% for industry are still in place. Reservoir levels have improved slightly, now standing at 18% capacity compared to 15% earlier in the year.

In conclusion, the situation in Catalonia emphasizes the importance of water conservation efforts and sustainable practices to combat the effects of climate change and ensure the availability of water resources for both residents and visitors.

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