Catalonia Becomes Latest Spanish Region To Impose Emergency Drought Measures

Image of a dripping tap.

Image of a dripping tap. Credit: Chuchawan/

THE Catalan Water Agency (ACA) declared an emergency situation in 24 municipalities of Catalonia on Wednesday, August 2, due to the drought conditions.

These measures will affect 22 municipalities that depend on the Fluvià-Muga reservoir in the Alt Empordà region of Girona, and two more that are supplied from the Riudecanyes reservoir in Baix Camp, Tarragona.

Although a total of around 26,000 inhabitants reside in these areas, they will not face cuts to their drinking water supplies at this point.

Despite the rain in May and June, the levels of the interior basins have led the Catalan administration to take unprecedented measures at different alert levels, after almost 30 months of drought.

Catalonia is not the first nor the only community that has announced measures in recent months. Andalucia, Extremadura and Navarra have already taken action.


The emergency drought measures will come into force next week. For now, the limitations will exclusively target water consumption. Despite the critical and exceptional situation, citizens should not be alarmed though.

A limitation of 200 litres per inhabitant per day will only apply to municipal services. However, Samuel Reyes, the director of the ACA,  announced that in future phases these water restrictions could be extended.

In principle, they will be aiming at lowering the water pressure – as has already been done in other areas – as opposed to direct restrictions on consumption.


Andalucia has already implemented measures. More than 80,000 residents living between Alto Guadiato and Los Pedroches, in the north of the province of Córdoba, have lacked a regular supply since the end of March.

Filling private pools with drinking water in this region is prohibited and many municipalities have removed showers and footbaths from the beaches.

To the south of the province, in Lucena, there are nocturnal supply cuts due to the drop in levels in the municipal water tanks. As a result, the weekly watering of parks and gardens has been reduced to a minimum.

In Malaga, in four municipalities of the Axarquía – Vélez-Málaga, El Borge, Almáchar and Iznate – there are nocturnal water cuts.

These are due to the severe situation of the La Viñuela reservoir which supplies them, which is currently at just nine per cent of its capacity.

The town of Colmenar receives four tankers of water a day and in Rincón de la Victoria the supply of showers and beach footbaths has been cut off. Restrictions also apply to municipalities in the Western Costa del Sol, such as Torremolinos.

Other towns such as Coín, Cártama and Alhaurín de la Torre have issued proclamations detailing the Government’s restrictions.

These include the use of drinking water to fill private pools, irrigate gardens and wash cars outside authorised establishments. It also applies to the use of water in ornamental fountains without a closed circuit.

Some municipalities on the coast of Cádiz, including Chipiona, San Roque, Vejer de la Frontera and Zahara de los Atunes have removed the showers and footbaths from their beaches. According to calculations by environmental groups, a shower on the beach consumes 120,000 litres of water per day.

Juanma Moreno, the President of Andalucia, has already warned on more than one occasion that if the drought continues after the summer there will be ‘painful restrictions’.

There are even some municipalities that are limiting water for private consumption, apart from the Córdoba area. This is the case of about fifteen towns and villages in the Sierra de Huelva, where they are already suffering cuts in domestic supply, including Aracena and Higuera de la Sierra.


Extremadura also suffers nightly cuts in the water supply. Phase III of the Drought Emergency Plan has been activated and provides for cuts in suburban areas with a ban on watering gardens and green areas. Vehicles are not allowed to be washed, private pools filled, or more than 189 litres per person per day used.


From the beginning of the hydrological year – which began on October 1, 2022 – until May 31, 2023, rainfall in Navarra was 27.6 per cent lower than in the same period of the previous year when there was almost 15 per cent more rain than in 2021.

In the southern half, there has been 40 per cent less rainfall in Tudela and almost 27 per cent less in Pamplona. Some restrictions have been imposed in that part of ​​the community that basically affect the farmers who consequently have no water to distribute for irrigation.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at