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Spain grapples with severe drought as reservoirs run dry

Spain’s long-enduring drought has drained reservoirs and prompted stringent water-use regulations, putting the country in a dire situation. A once sail-friendly Darnius Boadella reservoir in northeastern Spain stands as a testament to the drought’s impact. Recalling his memories from two years ago, 79-year-old local Artur Duran highlighted the reservoir’s drastic water level decline, with the once water-abundant area now merely 20% full.

Image used for illustration purposes only

The scene around the reservoir paints a bleak picture. Sunbathers now lounge on its formerly submerged shores, dotted with sporadic patches of grass. Despite the perilous water levels, some visitors still attempt to paddle-surf. Reflecting the gravity of the situation, Catalonia’s administration enforced water restrictions on 22 neighboring villages as the reservoir’s aquifer depletes.

This year has been particularly tough on Spain, registering its driest start in over six decades. Regions such as Catalonia and Andalusia in southern Spain bear the brunt of this crisis. Ruben del Campo, representing Spain’s meteorological agency AEMET, pointed out that recurring heatwaves in Spain and across Europe have aggravated the drought conditions, leading to heightened water evaporation and consumption.

With nearly 25,000 residents impacted, 24 villages, including a couple in southern Catalonia, face a water emergency. Consumption restrictions demand a cutback to an average of 200 liters daily per resident, a sharp drop from the previous 230-liter cap. While direct human consumption remains unrestricted for now, extensive limitations loom over agricultural, industrial, and recreational water use.

For Agullana, a village of 900, the situation remains tense but manageable. While they’ve maintained water consumption below the 200-liter benchmark for some time, Mayor Josep Jovell envisions further conservation measures. The village anticipates discontinuing irrigation for gardens, sports fields, and pools, leading to dry and yellowing landscapes. Water will no longer cleanse their streets, shifting entirely to dry sweeping.

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