Where in Spain are there currently water restrictions?

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Where in Spain are there currently water restrictions?
Spain is facing one of the worst droughts since records began. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

Over 600 municipalities across Spain have implemented water restrictions to try and deal with the historic drought conditions affecting many parts of the country. Find out if your area is affected and what kind of restrictions are in place.


Spain is currently in the midst of an historically bad drought, one of the worst in recent decades, and the water shortages are being compounded by the sweltering summer temperatures and influx of seasonal tourists that put further pressure on Spain's water supply.

As a result, the drought conditions have become so severe in certain parts of Spain that water restrictions have been implemented. Five regions across the country have introduced restrictions on water: Andalusia, Catalonia, Aragón, Galicia, and Extremadura.

In total over 600 different municipalities have some sort of restrictions in place.

The cutbacks on use and consumption are intended to try and help preserve the dwindling Spanish reservoirs, whose average capacity in early August stands at just 42.1 percent. For comparison, the average for the last decade was 58.5 percent.

The restrictions range from bans on washing the car or filling up your swimming pool and even, in some parts of Spain, complete cut offs.

But where are the bulk of the water restrictions in Spain so far this summer?



In the north-eastern region of Catalonia, the Catalan Water Agency (ACA) have declared a drought emergency in 24 municipalities across the region, implementing measures that affect around 26,000 inhabitants. The water restrictions are generally focused on towns that depend on the Fluvià-Muga aquifer (Alt Empordà, Girona) and two that are supplied by the Riudecanyes reservoir, namely Baix Camp and Tarragona.

Starting from next week, there will be recommended water consumption limits of 200 litres per inhabitant per day, although only for water supplied by municipal services and it will therefore not affect drinking water. For now, the ACA's recommendation is only that: a recommendation, but the body stressed that the ideal consumption figure is 90 litres per person per day.

The 22 municipalities affected in Alt Empordà are: Agullana, Armentera, Capmany, Espolla, Garriguella, La Jonquera, Masarac, Mollet de Peralada, Palau-saverdera, Pau, Pedret i Marzà, Peralada, Sant Climent Sescebes, Sant Miquel de Fluvià, Sant Mori, Sant Pere Pescador, Torroella de Fluvià, Ventalló, Vilabertran, Viladamat, Vilajuïga and Vilamacolum.

Municipalities that don't abide by the water restrictions face fines of between €10,000 and €150,000.



The scorching south-west region of Extremadura has also introduced water limits in a bid to fight back against the drought conditions affecting it.

The severest drought conditions in Extremadura are in the Tentudía region, which is home to nine municipalities. Local authorities have implemented a drought action plan, which includes night-time water cuts, temporary supply interruptions and a ban on watering gardens, as well as filling public fountains and the use of water in street cleaning.

The twenty or so municipalities that make up the Mancomunidad de Llerena, in Badajoz, also face restrictions, namely that swimming pools cannot be filled, whether private or public, and cars cannot be washed. Water use is limited to 189 litres per person per day.

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You might think that notoriously wet and rainy Galicia in north-west Spain would be immune to drought conditions and water restrictions but the annual influx of summer tourists trying to avoid the heat of southern Spain puts extra pressure on the region's water supply.

As a result, since mid-July the regional water company Augas de Galicia has decided to act by declaring a pre-alert for moderate water shortage in several parts of the region.

These are areas covered by the basins of the river Mero, crucial to A Coruña, the river Anllóns, on the Costa da Morte- and the subsystem of Baiona, an area south of Pontevedra and one of the main points of Galician mass tourism.

In A Mariña, municipalities such as Barreiros, O Valadouro and Xove have called on the population to use water only for essential purposes.



Spain's southernmost region Andalusia is notorious for its scorching summer temperatures and lack of rainfall.

As a result, it is one of the regions most affected by drought conditions. In fact, its water reserves stood at just 23.5 percent at the end of July. The worst of the conditions are around the Córdoba area and in the Huelva mountains. In Cumbres Mayores (Huelva), there have been overnight water cuts lasting up to 11 hours enforced since May.

Similar water cuts have been common across the Córdoba and Huelva provinces, and some thirty towns in the Malaga area are also set to join the overnight water restriction measures. In the Guadalhorce and Axarquia areas more than one hundred private swimming pools have had to close in places such as Rincón de la Victoria, Iznate and Almáchar.

READ ALSO: Explained: How tourism might be affected by the drought in Spain this summer


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