The Government will not regulate the controversial ice rinks and delegates the decision to the town councils

A priori, a rink on ice is more typical of Nordic countries than from the Mediterranean. However, for years, it has been common for these installations to proliferate throughout the towns and cities Spaniards during each Christmas campaign. This time, given the serious drought that affects the internal basins of Catalonia, especially the Barcelona area, criticism of these facilities has intensified due to water consumption, and above all, due to the high waste of energy that power implies. ice skating at 25ºC.

It is true that some tracks, such as Barcelona wave of Manlleuare made from polyurethane, a synthetic material. But it is also true that others do use large amounts of water. The Department of Climate Action recalls that the Special Drought Plan (PES) does not specify these uses of water. Therefore, they consider sources from the ministry consulted by this newspaper, It should be each town council who decides If it is necessary to install these tracks in a so serious situation like the current one.

The Government urges city councils to assess whether an ice rink is necessary in the midst of a drought

In case they decide to move forward, the Government does insist on the importance of the consumption of the ice rink does not prevent them from meeting the maximum provisions allowed by the phase of the PES in which each locality is located (exceptionality, pre-emergency or emergency). Some municipalities have chosen give up the ice rink due to the drought, but several mayors (and there are all kinds of them) have not hesitated to bet on this Christmas attraction.

Savings measures

In Manresa, for example, About 20,000 liters of water are consumed. In Sant Feliu de Llobregat, 25,000. In this city, the mounting of the track (it has cost 47,000 euros) in the middle of a situation of climate emergency has raised blisters among opposition groups. The City Council is the one who will assume the water contributions necessary for the operation of the infrastructure. The ‘communs’ of Sant Feliu have announced a complaint to the Catalan Water Agency (ACA) so that check the current status of the installation and evaluate “the possible responsibilities of the municipal government and the company.”

The government team defends that the track responds to an exercise of “economic dynamization of the municipality and the commercial fabric”, while maintaining that the track does not represent “non-compliance with any rule or law”.

There are mayors of all political stripes who have chosen to maintain these winter skating rinks.

Some of the cities that have installed these tracks have already reported that They will reuse the ice and transfer it to a treatment plant. In Vilafranca del Penedès They use non-potable water from a well, just as in Platja d’Aro. In Girona, the track will be less thick than usual, which will save 40% of the water that was usually used. In Olotanother example, have opted for regenerated water.

The majority of companies and town councils have stepped up to try to reduce water consumption than other years and thus avoid controversy. Others, like Terrassa or Reus, They have decided not to install the tracks because they consider them to be incongruous equipment in times of climate crisis.

“What will the citizens think?”

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The platform Water is Life has already spoken out critically about all of these facilities. “An ice rink consumes the same amount of energy as 233 people in a day. It’s not a spectacular amount.. But the problem is symbolism. What will citizens think if, while being asked to save water, their city council fills an ice rink?” reflects its spokesperson, Dante Maschio.

He insists that these types of situations give little credibility to the serious context of the drought. In addition to the waste of water, there is the energy consumption, of more than 35,000 kilowatt hours in some cases. A figure equivalent to that consumed by fifty homes.