Rains ease water restrictions during drought for the first time in Spain’s Catalonia region

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Spain’s Catalonia region will ease water use restrictions in large areas, including Barcelona, ​​after recent rains eased the weather. prolonged droughtlocal authorities announced on Tuesday.

Catalonia declared drought emergency In February, the reservoir’s water storage capacity dropped below 16% due to nearly three years of below-average rainfall.but It has been raining steadily for the past few weeks. Reserves have increased by nearly 25%. Spain’s reservoirs are 66% full.

The easing of restrictions would see the usage limit for about 6 million individuals increase from 200 to 230 liters (53 to 61 gallons) per day. According to Catalonia’s water agency, the average resident uses 116 liters (30 gallons) per day at home.

Farmers only need to reduce their average usage by 40% instead of 80%, while industrial users only need to reduce their usage by 25% to 15%.

David Mascourt, head of Catalonia’s environmental authority, said plans for the installation still remain. floating desalination plant Off the coast of Barcelona in October. He said that Catalonia’s reserves in the area fed by the Ter and Llobregat rivers are currently close to the same level as last year.

“We are in the same situation as last year, but this time we are better prepared. If in May 2023 around 65% of our water came from reservoirs, thanks to the expansion of Catalonia’s water reuse And now it’s only 50%.” desalination infrastructuresaid Mascourt.

But Catalan government spokesperson Patricia Playa warned that “the drought is not over.”

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