Drought in Catalonia: the impact of the rain on water reserves

by Lorraine Williamson
water reserves

The weather situation in Catalonia has been particularly worrying in recent months. The drought in Catalonia is severe; The region is facing a severe water shortage. The lack of rain led the Catalan government to activate a state of emergency for drought on February 1 after water reserves dropped below the 100 hm3 limit.

Last weekend, however, storm Monica arrived in Spain. It was raining all over the country. It also rained in Catalonia, and it snowed in the Pyrenees. Weather service Meteocat service explained earlier in a statement that Catalonia has had two rounds of heavy rain since Friday. These have left more than 50 litres per square metre in the mountains to the north and in areas in the centre and northeast.

According to the Meteorological Service of Catalonia (Meteocat), Saturday was the rainiest day of the past six months. And very welcome, because of the critical situation of the Catalan reservoirs.

Rain not immediately visible in reservoir water level

According to the daily update of the Catalan Water Agency (ACA), reserves in the internal basins of Catalonia on Sunday (14.46%) were at the same level as last Thursday (14.47%), even a tenth of a percent lower than before the storm. It will take a few more days for significant changes to be visible. First, the water that accumulated in the rivers during the rain must have come down.

Cogesa Expats

Rain brought hope

These rains have given some hope to the Catalans, who will be able to see how the water reserves of the reservoirs have increased. Even if it’s just a little bit. According to the data of the Catalan Water Agency, the current reserves in the internal basins have risen to 14.77%. This growth translates into a value of about 700 cubic hectometres.

Rain and snow well distributed

The last time similar amounts were recorded was on September 15, 2023, but they were not as evenly distributed as Saturday. While yesterday’s precipitation fell all over Catalonia – with less intensity in the Ebro area and southern Lleida – this last autumn was concentrated in the coastal areas and there was little precipitation at the headwaters of the rivers.

The rainfall between Friday and Saturday in Catalonia left about 100 litres per square metre in the Montseny massif (Barcelona) and up to half a metre of new snow in areas of the Pyrenees and the Pre-Pyrenees. There, the ski resorts can now remain open at least until Easter.

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