Spain’s Catalonia region declares a drought emergency in 24 towns that will see water cuts

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. principally / ˈprɪn sə pə li / (adv.) – mainly

    The flooding principally affected the people living close to the river.

  2. irrigation / ˌɪr ɪˈgeɪ ʃən / (n.) – the process of supplying water to land or crops, usually with the use of artificial methods such as pipes

    Farmers in our area rely heavily on irrigation to grow their crops.

  3. prohibited / proʊˈhɪb ɪ tɪd / (adj.) – not allowed by the authorities or the law

    Smoking in public is prohibited.

  4. per capita / pər ˈkæp ɪ tə / (adj.) – for each person

    The new policy aims to increase the per capita income in rural areas.

  5. allocation / ˌæl əˈkeɪ ʃən / (n.) – the part of a total amount of something, such as money, space, etc., that’s given to someone for a particular purpose

    The school discussed the fair allocation of funds per club.


Read the text below.

Northeastern Spain’s Catalonia region declared a drought emergency in 24 municipalities following a severe lack of rain in recent years.

Restrictions put in place as part of the emergency principally affected agricultural and industrial water usage but not drinking water, Catalonia Water Agency Director Samuel Reyes said at a news conference.

The measures came into force and affected 22 towns in Alt Empordà, Spain’s most northeastern county, and two towns just south of Barcelona, the regional capital. The municipalities have a combined population of 26,000, the agency said.

Irrigation water for agriculture was reduced by 80% and supplies for industrial use by 25%. Filling swimming pools and watering gardens and parks were prohibited. The emergency restrictions also banned the filling of public fountains and using fresh water to wash cars.

The towns also had their per capita water allocations reduced from 230 liters (61 gallons) per day to 200 liters (about 53 gallons). The supplies were intended for residential uses, such as washing, and public services, such as street cleaning.

The Catalonia Water Agency said residents normally use 116 liters (about 31 gallons) of water daily, and Reyes urged people to try to reduce that to 90 liters (about 24 gallons).

Catalonia has been one of the regions hardest hit by a drought affecting much of Spain for the past two years. Parts of Catalonia and the Andalusia region in southern Spain already adopted less-stringent limits on water use because of the drought.

Spain’s Ecological Transition Ministry said that reservoirs nationally were at 42% of their capacity.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • How do you think the emergency measures and restrictions put in place would impact the daily lives of residents in the affected municipalities? What challenges and adjustments do you think they might face? Why? Discuss.
  • Do you agree with the restrictions on certain activities, such as filling swimming pools, watering gardens, and washing cars, during a drought emergency? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you think your community is prepared for drought emergencies? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • If your community experiences a drought emergency, what measures or restrictions do you think should be put in place? Do you think people in your area would easily comply with these measures? Why or why not? Discuss.