Last Tuesday the Resolution ACC/747/2023, of 6 March 2023, was published in the Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya (the Official Gazette of the Catalan Government). Said Resolution declared the state of exceptionality due to hydrological drought in the exploitation units of the Llobregat Reservoirs, Ter Reservoirs and Ter-Llobregat Reservoirs and modified the states of hydrological and pluviometric drought of other exploitation units in Catalonia (Spain)
The declaration of the exceptionality state is regulated in the so-called Special Action Plan in situation of alert and possible drought (PEA) and implies increasing the restrictions on water use. Said restrictions include reductions in water consumption, which must be of 15% for industrial uses, 30% for livestock uses, 40% for agricultural irrigation, 50% for recreational uses involving irrigation and 15% for other recreational uses.
Along with this Resolution, the Catalan Government has also approved the Decree-Law 1/2023, of 28 February 2023, establishing extraordinary and urgent measures to address the exceptional drought situation in the area of the river basin district of Catalonia, which was published on 2 March 2023.
Said Decree-Law introduces new measures, which are additional and complementary to those established in the PEA.
The Decree-Law also introduces a new article in the Consolidated Text of the water legislation in Catalonia (Legislative Decree 3/2003, of 4 November), which regulates a new sanctioning regime for non-compliance with the PEA, and foresees fines up to EUR 10,000 for minor infringements, EUR 50,000 for serious infringements and EUR 150,000 for very serious infringements.
Taking in consideration the scope of these measures, which affect several sectors, and that the situation may become more severe and vary as we approach the summer, it is important to monitor the regulations that may be approved by the Catalan Water Agency, as it is the body responsible for declaring the states of drought (Alert, Exceptionality or Emergency), provided for in the PEA, when the thresholds are reached in the indicators regulated therein.