Taking care of water

With the climate crisis, the shortage of water resources typical of Mediterranean areas will get worse. It is forecast that, by 2050, there will be a need for an additional 18 hm3 a year of potable water resources. The Climate Plan envisages reducing domestic potable water consumption to 100 litres per inhabitant per day.

An increase in heavy rain is forecast. Due to the city’s high degree of impermeability, there will be more cases of the sewers overflowing, as well as untreated water occasionally flowing into the sea. Moreover, the rise in the sea level might mean a reduction in or the loss of part of Barcelona’s beaches. In fact, studies show a big part of Sant Sebastià beach will be lost at the end of the century.

We want a more resilient city that is capable of adapting and being proactive in the face of a lack of resources, with a more efficient consumption that promotes alternative resources and protects the coastline and rivers in its sphere.

Most important challenges

  • Ensuring the capacity to supply the city, put at risk by the foreseeable worsening of the drought episodes and the reduction of some of the resources currently exploited.
  • Reducing consumption of the city’s potable water by 10%, replacing it with alternative water resources (ground + grey + regenerated) for uses compatible with them.
  • Minimising sewerage system overflows and cases of untreated water flowing into the sea and rivers as a result of torrential rain that could become worse with climate change.
  • Protecting the coastline from sea flooding aggravated by climate change (rise in the average sea level and more extreme episodes).

Key actions and actors

Reducing the consumption of drinking water

  • Replace 100,000 m3/year of potable water with alternative water resources for municipal uses they are compatible by 2024.    
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Achieve domestic potable water consumption of 100 l/inhab./day by implementing saving measures, public campaigns and initiatives at public facilities that consume lots of water.     
    • Barcelona City Council

Promoting the use of alternative water resources

  • Use regenerated water from the El Prat Waste Water Purification Plant, with a potential of 5 hm3, for industrial use in the Zona Franca and compatible residential uses (La Marina neighbourhood).    
    • Barcelona City Council, AMB, ACA
  • Approve a byelaw that makes the use of grey, rain or regenerated water compulsory in new buildings or major renovations.    
    • Barcelona City Council

Making the city more resilient to flooding

  • Increase the sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) by 20,000m2 by 2024.     
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Carry out the necessary actions on collector pipes and rainwater tanks (the pipes on Avinguda del Paral·lel and Avinguda Diagonal, and the rainwater retention tank on La Rambla de Prim) in order to increase the capacity of the drains and reduce the risk of flooding, as well as avoid overflows on the beach due to heavy rain.     
    • Barcelona City Council

Protecting the coastline and our rivers

  • Define and implement the protection strategies and specific use of each beach.    
    • Barcelona City Council, Spanish State
  • Restore the bed of the Llobregat and Besòs rivers and improve the water quality (by reducing uncontrolled spills) as well as that of the aquifers (saline barrier).    
    • AMB, ACA
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