5 Feb, 2024 @ 15:18
1 min read

Spain’s Catalonia to split cost of bringing in water by boat with central government, in desperate bid to combat ongoing drought


THE Catalan regional government agreed the terms of a deal on Monday with the central administration in Madrid that will see water brought to Barcelona by boat in a bid to combat the ongoing drought in the area. 

The lack of water saw emergency measures put into place in Catalunya last week, including a ban on watering public parks and a 20% reduction in agricultural irrigation.

Catalonia has been suffering its most serious drought on record for the last three years now, and the boat plan will go into action should the situation not improve beyond this spring. 

The two administrations have been working since April to find solutions to the problem, according to Spanish daily El País

Some areas of Catalunya have not seen rainfall for three years.

In some areas of the region, it has not rained for three years, according to the Catalan regional premier, Pere Aragones.

Under the agreement, the central government will pay for the production of desalinated water at a plant in Sagunto, Valencia, while the Catalan regional government will pay for the shipping. 

According to the central government, the plant in Valencia produces eight cubic hectometres of water a year, which is 10% of its capacity. 

In 12 hours, it could turn out 20,000 cubic metres of water, which could then be transported to Barcelona. This amount would represent a third of the consumption of the city, according to El Pais

The deal was reached by one of Spain’s deputy prime ministers, Teresa Ribera, and the region’s climate action chief, David Mascort, who met in Barcelona. 

The pair also agreed to unblock financing for new desalination plants in the Catalunya region.  

Water reserves in Catalunya fell last week below 16%, prompting the emergency declaration. 

Other measures that went into force include the closure of showers on the beach and ornamental fountains. The restrictions are due to stay in place for at least the next 15 months.  

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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