Due to the severity of the drought, Spanish authorities decided to reduce the availability of water. The restriction affects six million people from 495 municipalities. The sector most likely to be affected by the proposed restrictions is agriculture. Farmers and exporters are outraged by the decision and argue that the consequences will be dire for Europe as a whole.
Spain’s regional government of Catalonia has imposed severe restrictions on water use in a total of 224 municipalities due to 30 months of severe drought. Restrictions have been announced in other areas. In total, more than six million people in 495 municipalities will be affected by the restrictions, Catalan government spokeswoman Patricia Plaja told a press conference on Tuesday. The restrictions include, among others, the Ter-Llobregat water network that supplies water to the Barcelona and Girona regions.
Per capita water limit
According to the regulations, water consumption in industry must be reduced by 15 percent, and in agriculture – 40 percent or replaced by recycled water. It is forbidden to water gardens, public and private green areas every day, and to wash streets with potable water. Pools can only be filled with recycling systems. The maximum water consumption per inhabitant per day is set – up to 230 liters, however, this should not be realized in homes. The Catalan government had already approved a decree in February that allowed the acquisition of wells to guarantee drinking water supplies, and imposed fines of up to €150,000 on municipalities that failed to comply with the new rules. According to the predictions of the portal eltiempo.es, temperature values will be higher than usual this summer, especially in the interior of the country. The government has tripled funding for the fire prevention campaign.
The forecasts do not inspire confidence for local farmers and exporters. Spain is the largest fruit and vegetable producer in the entire European Union. However, climate change that hits the country every year and threatens to desertify three-quarters of its land area has a significant impact on the sector.
– We need water. If they take it away from us, we’ll just have a desert here,” said farmer Juan Francisco Abellaneda.
Many organizations, such as the Asaja Farmers Association, warn that without water, it will be “impossible to maintain modern and competitive agriculture” and that it will threaten food security across the continent. Farmers’ lobby group SCRATS calculated that the cuts could destroy 12,000 hectares of farmland, resulting in financial losses of up to $137 million a year and the loss of 15,000 jobs.
Farmers explain their sentiments through a provision in the constitution that says “Spain’s waters belong to all Spaniards.” In turn, environmentalists point out that the country’s entire agricultural model needs to be rationally thought out. – More than 80 percent of Spain’s freshwater is used for agriculture. It is not sustainable […] Greenpeace’s Julio Baria has opined that Spain cannot be the Garden of Europe if our water is scarce.
Main photo source: Cable News Network Inc. All rights reserved 2023
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