80% of the Catalan population is already on drought alert

The rains that have fallen in recent weeks are still insufficient to compensate for the severe drought suffered by a large part of Catalonia, due to an exceptionally dry summer and autumn. A total of 514 Catalan municipalities in 27 counties, including the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona, ​​where 6.7 million people live and therefore 80% of the Catalan population, are already on drought alertas reported by the Generalitat.

The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, presided over the Interdepartmental Drought Commission this Tuesday in view of the worsening of the situation in Catalonia after several months without abundant rains and cWith the swamps of the internal basins located at 34% of their capacity, the lowest since 2007.

The committee addressed the situation and highlighted the situation of the Ter-Llobregat system, the one that supplies water to the largest population in Catalonia, and the Darnius Boadella reservoir, which will go on alert this week, bringing the total number of municipalities affected by water scarcity.

This has been the second meeting of the Interdepartmental Drought Commission after the first held at the beginning of August and has corroborated the poor situation of the water reserves, which continue to decline, with the Ter Llobregat system at 34% (207 hm³) and the of Darnius Boadella at 33% (20 hm³).

After the meeting, the government has empowered the director of the Catalan Water Agency (ACA) to sign the resolution declaring the alert in the Ter-Llobregat and Darnius Doadella system, an alert that will come into force when the resolution is published in the Official Gazette of the Generalitat of Catalonia (DOGC), scheduled for the end of the week.

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At the moment, without restrictions for domestic consumption

The alert situation does not yet contemplate reducing the consumption of drinking water or domestic supply, but it does apply a reduction in consumption in agricultural, livestock, industrial and recreational uses, such as prohibiting filling swimming pools and recommend reducing the watering of gardens and plants.

The Catalan Drought Plan, the tool to manage episodes of water scarcity, has been activated since October 2021.

Since then, the ACA has monthly analyzed the situation of the internal basins based on the main source of supply (reservoirs, aquifers or rainfall).

In the area of ​​Ter Llobregat, which has been in the pre-alert scenario since February of this year, measures have been applied for 9 monthssuch as the increase in production of the desalination plants (from 20 to 90%), which have contributed more than 54 hm3 to the system.

According to the ACA, this has prevented reservoirs from being seven points below their current volume (without desalinated water, today the Ter Llobregat system would be close to the threshold of exceptionality).

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In addition to desalination, in the pre-alert phase the production of reclaimed water has been boosted, which has made it possible to provide 2,000 liters per second in the final stretch of the river Llobregat to guarantee the ecological flow.

In the alert phase, it is expected that part of this reclaimed water (900 liters per second) will be used for agricultural irrigation through the channel on the right of the Llobregat, while the remaining 1,100 liters will be used to guarantee the ecological flow.

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