In a scenario of concern about water management, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB) is preparing to implement measures to reduce water pressure in several locations near the city.
The initiative responds to the exceeding of the established limit of 200 liters of water per inhabitant per day in municipalities such as Cervelló, La Palma de Cervelló, Corbera de Llobregat, Sant Vicenç dels Horts and Begues, according to data provided by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA) in November 2023. However, Barcelona is not yet among the cities affected.
Why Barcelona will not reduce water pressure for now
Despite being a metropolis with high water consumption, Barcelona has so far been spared from the restrictions that will affect the surrounding municipalities.
The reason lies in the fact that, although the total amount of water consumed in the Catalan capital is significant, when divided by the population, the average does not exceed 200 liters per inhabitant/day, which is the current limit for the implementation of pressure reduction measures.
The average water consumption per inhabitant per day in Barcelona, according to data provided by ACA, has remained below 200 liters throughout last year. Despite seasonal fluctuations, the city is currently below the critical threshold that would trigger a reduction in water pressure.
Projections for future reductions in Barcelona
Although Barcelona is not subject to the current restrictions, this does not guarantee immunity from future pressure reductions. The key lies in the evolution of the drought emergency phases established in the restrictions plan of the Generalitat.
We are currently in emergency phase 1, with a consumption threshold of 200 liters per inhabitant per day.
However, if drought conditions persist and water reserves diminish, we are likely to advance to emergency stages 2 and 3. In phase 2, the threshold will be reduced to 180 liters per inhabitant per day, and in phase 3, it will be limited to 160 liters per inhabitant per day.
Projections indicate that phase 2 could be activated in spring if reservoir reserves reach 67 hm³ (10.95%). As for phase 3, it will require even lower reserves, specifically 33 hm³ (5.4%), and could be activated in summer.
If these forecasts are met and the situation does not improve, Barcelona is likely to experience a reduction in water pressure during the summer, as the threshold will be at 160 liters per inhabitant per day, a figure that has been exceeded monthly in the city during 2023.
The city is at a critical point where strategic decisions and awareness of water consumption will be critical.