Aid will be given to municipalities, there will be urgent investments and the start-up of desalination plants will be prioritized
The measures that had been pre-agreed are maintained even if there is no agreement
The application or not of sanctions has prevented the agreement between parties at the summit against the drought held this Friday, but the Government assures that it will also launch the rest of measures that they had agreed several political groups. The most mediatic of decisions is that of authorize the filling of swimming pools municipal “Because of public health“. They had asked for it several mayors (for example those of cities in the metropolitan arc) and this will be done, although theoretically it is prohibited in the current situation of drought. Sources from the Conselleria d’Acció Climàtica warn, however, that there will be no open bar and they point out that the pools can be filled only in cases where the health reasons are clearly justified.
This is the most publicized of the decisions that the Government will execute in the coming days, while the decree law in force continues its path in the form of a bill. About the controversial sanctionsthe Catalan Water Agency (HERE) insists that the main objective of the decree is not to put fines, but to deter to prevent the restrictions from being breached. Therefore, the announced line will be followed: “we will follow up and we will ask information why it is not complied with in certain cases, but there is no specific date to start sanctioning, because it is not our intention”, argues Samuel Reyes, director of the ACA. That is to say, de facto, there will be a kind of moratorium on fines.
The municipalities are responsible that the restrictions set by the ACA in each phase of the drought, and for this reason the pre-agreement between parties included also measures to facilitate their work. This will also remain. Specifically, an extraordinary item will be set up in the general budget to deal with the drought and give subsidies to town halls (40 million euros) for improve the eficiency (prevent leakage) of the high waterthat is to say, the one that arrives from the swamps to the entrance of the municipalities through a large pipe.
There will also be a new call so that the municipalities that require it can contract Tank trucks bring them large amounts of water if they need it. In addition, support will be given to the smallest town halls (those of less than 20,000 inhabitants) for them to write Emergency plans due to drought if they are not yet ready and emergency contracting of services that serve to combat water scarcity will be facilitated.
Instead, the help that was intended to be given so that the municipalities avoid leaks in the distribution network reaches the houses (low water) for now they will not be able to move forwardalthough from the ‘conselleria’ they explain that they will look for the formula to apply this measure.
The last part of the agreement that could not be closed talks about new infrastructures. And according to the ‘councillor’ Teresa Jordà, also the accelerator will be stepped on to make them a reality as soon as possible. Two projects will be urgently tendered: the expansion of the Tordera desalination plant (it will be before June 30) and a new desalination plant in Cubelles.
The Executive will also focus its efforts on multiply the amount of reclaimed water used. In a month, they intend to draw up a plan on this type of water that is currently used in the Llobregat river and in La Tordera (where it was launched this week to maintain the ecological flow of the river). Two drinking water treatment stations are also planned in the Kisses.
These decisions go beyond the decree that is in force these days and will be applied by the Government on its own, as detailed by Jordà. However, the measures included in the current decree law remain in force. In other words, the recovery of disused wells and aquifers and the allowed monthly consumption (regulated by the town halls) is the same as up to now.
The rest of the effects marked by the drought plan (alert or exceptional phase, for example) also continue to apply. This is the limitation in irrigation for farmers (40%) and uses industrial (15%) and the prohibition of watering parks and gardens or clean streets with drinking water.
The Government undertakes to promote a responsible use of water in houses. They also announce the creation of the Taula de l’Aigua, where all the actors involved will be, to face this severe drought.