Some water please!

Article published on May 26, 2008
Article published on May 26, 2008
After long months of drought, Catalonia has eventually received the nature’s godsend of rain. However, it was a fleeting visit and insufficient to quench the thirst of over 7 million people. Several weeks of constant rains would be necessary to reach last year’s level of water in the reservoirs.

The situation was, and continues to be so desperate that the Catalan and the Spanish Government felt obliged to take urgent and highly controversial measures such as the execution of a temporary decanting of water from the Ebro – a subject which generates and will generate real political hassles in Spain- the ban on irrigating, the prohibition of changing the water of the swimming pools, etc…However, the arrival of the ships to the port of Barcelona carrying water was possibly the most mediatic image.

The water crisis becomes more crucial if we take into account that Barcelona is one of the best European cities at saving water- 110 litres per day and citizen are used up- according to the Urban Ecosystem Europe study. To make a comparison, people in Paris use every day more than the double of water used by Barcelona’s citizens. It is quite unusual to see the streets being washed with water in the Mediterranean city. Quite on the contrary, water saving in Barcelona gets to the point of watering the green areas of the city with the water kept in huge subterranean deposits. Certainly, the rainfall rate in Paris is higher than the rainfall rate registered in the South of Europe.

In any case, the climate change is already here and the Southern-Europe countries and cities bear it in mind because they will be the first to be hit by this change. The new culture of water is not an option but a necessity for them.

Photography: Reservoir of Sau (Flickr) Translated by Montse Nualart