The first restrictions on water consumption in Spain are a fact

by Lorraine Williamson
restrictions on water consumption

MADRID – The average water reserve in Spain is 40.4% of capacity. However, the differences per region are large. Therefore, some regions and municipalities in Spain have started to impose restrictions on water consumption. 

This mainly concerns the regions of Galicia, Catalonia and Andalucia where the problems are biggest. Here, nightly supply interruptions are in effect, showers on beaches are cut off from the water supply. And, furthermore, the filling of swimming pools and car washing is prohibited. The authorities want to guarantee the water supply for human consumption. Moreover, in some cases, even that had to be restricted as well. 


One of the autonomous communities most affected by the drought is Galicia. The following municipal councils are preparing for a worsening of the situation and a possible state of readiness. Consequently, that would imply the overnight interruption of the water supply;

  • Pontevedra
  • Poio
  • Sanxenxo
  • Marín
  • Bueu
  • Pontecaldelas

In these six cities, footbath taps and showers on the beaches are now closed. Furthermore, swimming pools can no longer be refilled and cars can no longer be taken to car washes. In addition, technicians will detect possible water leaks to prevent water wastage in this way. 

See also: Concerns about ongoing drought and heat in Spain 

The prolonged drought situation has also led some municipalities in the province of Ourense to ban non-essential uses such as cooking and personal hygiene. And, even in some specific cases warn of fines in case of violation of these obligations. 

The municipalities of Baltar and Boborás have banned the use of water for irrigating gardens, orchards and farms. Also not permitted is the filling swimming pools, washing cars or any other type of vehicle under penalty of a fine. Moreover, other measures are not excluded based on the “extraordinary” situation resulting from the prolonged drought. Think of checking the sources or installing metres in places where there are none. 

See also: Lack of rain makes the situation in Spanish reservoirs worrying 

“We have never had any problems with the water supply here. There was always water from the river basins in the mountains, at about a thousand metres altitude. But, like the ones in Serra do Larouco, this year they are practically unusable,” the mayor explained. 


The government of Catalonia limits water consumption in 150 municipalities to 200 litres per person per day. In the current drought situation, the reservoirs are at 43% of their capacity, data from July 31 shows. 

Furthermore, in Solsona, with nearly 10,000 inhabitants, water was supplied to one of the municipal network tanks a week ago. 

The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has called on the population to “use water rationally” in everyday life “to avoid aggravating the effects of the drought”. 


With the reservoirs not being sufficient to supply the population in the coming months, Andalucia is already applying restrictions in several provinces. In addition, the Junta has demanded an emergency meeting with the central government. This is to approve a drought decree with a high amount of financial aid. 

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In Malaga, the La Viñuela reservoir is at 12.7% of its capacity. It has never been this low since its construction. As a result, surrounding municipalities have imposed restrictions since August 1. This includes the closure of beach showers on the beaches of Rincón de la Victoria and Vélez-Málaga. 

Over the past few weeks, night restrictions have been enforced and water has been distributed by tankers in the Antequera region. 

The scarcity of water has led some farmers to sacrifice some of their avocado farms to save the rest, while table olive production is at risk because the fruit doesn’t get thick enough. 

In Huelva, ten municipalities in the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche region face restrictions at night. This contributes to the lack of water infrastructure in the province and has consequences for residents and tourists in terms of water supply. 

Also read: Water theft in exchange for money and goods


In Extremadura, the lack of water mainly affects the Tentudía region in Badajoz, fed by a reservoir of the same name. It currently has only 0.8 cubic hectometers of reserves, 16.6% of its capacity, half of what it had a year ago. 

As for the nine municipalities that make up this commonwealth, it is expressly recommended not to use water to irrigate gardens or rinse streets, clean terraces, fill swimming pools or wash cars. 

In Bodonal de la Sierra, water restrictions apply to rural homes for a few hours a day. 

Castile and Leon 

Restrictions on agricultural irrigation apply here. In addition, certain institutions have taken measures related to the drought, such as National Heritage. In addition to restrictions on agricultural irrigation, in Castilla y León, certain institutions have taken decisions related to the drought, such as National Heritage. This has closed the historic fountains in the gardens of the Royal Palace of San Ildefonso in the municipality of La Granja in Segovia. 

Municipalities like Barruelo de Santullán in Palencia have banned filling private swimming pools, washing cars and watering gardens. 


In Navarre, there are water restrictions in small towns, which get their water from small wells or rivers, such as Erro. Here, irrigation of orchards is prohibited and water is restricted at night due to water scarcity, especially in the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian part. 

Basque Country 

In the Basque Country, restrictions apply in areas where municipalities must supply water from rivers and aquifers. Only irrigating gardens, filling private swimming pools and washing cars, among other non-essential activities, have been banned for the time being. 

Desalination plants and wells in the Canary Islands 

There are currently no restrictions on the supply of water for human consumption in the Canary Islands, although the archipelago has been struggling with drought for several years. This is due to the contribution of the desalination plants. The supply to homes in Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the islands with the least rainfall, is almost 100% dependent on this. The desalination plants also complement the offer of Tenerife, the most populous island. 

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