Catalonia: Who can still fill their pool?

Here are the new measures for public and private pools in Catalonia

by Lorraine Williamson
Catalan pools

The Catalan government is working on a decree that will allow the filling and refilling of both public and private pools, on the condition that the pools are open to the general public. Which pools may open will be determined by the municipality.

Who will be allowed to fill their pool this summer? Drought-plagued Catalonia is working on new measures to regulate drought. The Catalan government aims to designate various pools belonging to sports clubs, residential communities, hotels, and campsites as “climate refuge areas” against heatwaves.

A new decree will be approved during the government meeting on Tuesday, April 16. It will outline which pools may or may not be filled or refilled. The decree ultimately needs approval from Parliament, which is expected to happen later this week.

Water usage must be compensated for

The pool plans were announced on Saturday by El Periódico de Catalunya and confirmed by Acció Climàtica department sources. Some pools may open under strict conditions. The opening of swimming facilities must be offset by water-saving measures, such as from showers. The drought contingency plan revision will also include new measures for water usage in tourist accommodations.

Also read: Rain over Easter eased drought situation in Catalonia

Baycrest Wealth

The new regulations stem from negotiations the Catalan government has conducted over the past weeks with local authorities, represented by the two municipal organisations, the Federació de Municipis de Catalunya (FMC) and the Associació Catalana de Municipis (AMC), which have supported the municipalities’ demands.

Decision-making authority lies with municipalities

The government emphasises that the new decree is the result of dialogue and consensus with municipalities to provide them with more tools to address drought emergencies. The decision to determine which pools are considered climate refuge areas lies with the municipalities. Both public and private pools may qualify. In the case of private pools, owners must reach an agreement with the municipalities to define usage. Pools with the so-called ‘climate refuge area status’ may be refilled with an amount of water that ensures water quality from a health perspective. Additionally, water usage must be compensated for through other means of water saving.

No climate refuge area? No pool water usage allowed

The regulation will clarify that a pool not registered as a climate refuge area may not, under any circumstances, be filled or refilled. The decree also allows for limiting tourists’ water usage. This applies to municipalities that exceed the maximum allowed water usage for three consecutive months.

Different stages of water restriction

The emergency plan for Catalonia outlines various levels of water restriction: exceptional situation, emergency level 1, emergency level 2, and emergency level 3. Respectively, 115 litres, 100 litres, 90 litres, or 80 litres of water per person per day may be used.

The reactions from municipalities and hotels are moderately positive. Allocating climate refuge areas at least offers municipalities the opportunity to assist citizens and tourists during times of exceptional drought.


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