Catalonia has been suffering from a severe lack of rainfall for the past 40 months. As a result, the authorities in the Spanish region have declared a state of emergency and introduced strict restrictions to mitigate the impact.
The authorities in Catalonia, which is an autonomous region of Spain with its capital in Barcelona, have declared a state of emergency after months of warning. Starting from 2 February, 80% of Catalonia's population, including the residents of Barcelona, will have to abide by strict water usage restrictions due to the worst-ever recorded drought in the region.
Fines for washing cars or watering gardens
"We are entering a new climate reality," Catalonia’s regional president Pere Aragonès said when announcing the emergency, as quoted by Euronews. "It is more than likely we will see more droughts that will be both more intense and more frequent."
Residents and citizens of Barcelona should take note that certain water-related activities such as washing your car, watering your garden, or filling your swimming pool could result in a fine of up to €50. For more serious water-related offences, the maximum fine can go up to €3,000. These restrictions on water use also apply to farmers and businesses.
Many regions are at risk of desertification
The new legislation will impact six million residents of Barcelona and 201 other municipalities in northeastern Spain. This region has been experiencing the effects of insufficient rainfall for 40 months, and the situation has worsened due to the abnormally high temperatures in January, which have caused the water levels in reservoirs to drop even further.
Next week, Catalan authorities will meet with Spain's Minister of Energy and Climate, Teresa Ribera, to discuss the possibility of drawing water from other territories in the coming months if necessary.
Experts attribute the cause of the drought in southern Europe to climate change, with the entire Mediterranean region expected to warm up faster than other parts of the world in the coming years. Many places in the area, including Catalonia, are at risk of desertification.