The President of the Generalitat de Catalunya,Pere Aragonès, stated this afternoon that despite today’s declaration of emergency for the Ter-Llobregat system, "we will overcome the drought,andwe will do so thanks to collaboration, shared effort, planning, and well-directed investments".
He made this statement during a press conference after leading this morning's extraordinary meeting of the Drought Interdepartmental Commission. The meetingaddressed the entry into the emergency phase of the Special Drought Plan for the Ter-Llobregat system, which covers 202 municipalities in the internal basins, with a population of six million inhabitants, once the reserves have fallen below 16%, as established by the plan.
In the face of "the worst drought of the last century" that Catalonia has suffered, the head of the Executive emphasised that, "during all this time actions have been taken" and "an extraordinary effort" has been made both by the Government and the entire country. "Without this effort, we would have been in an emergency situation long ago and it would have been worse," he stated.
With regard to the measures taken by the Government, the President highlighted the activation of the Special Drought Plan, in parallel with "the acceleration of investments". "We have been working with local councils to modernise water supply networks and, above all, we have increased like never before the capacity to obtain water that does not come from supplies," he explained. A measure that has meant that, today, "reclaimed water accounts for more than 55% of the total amount of water that reaches our homes".
Alongside the Government's planning, the President wanted to "recognise and thank" citizens for their position, "who have understood that we are in an absolutely exceptional situation and that measures to save water needed to be taken at home", as well as the productive fabric and industrial and agricultural sectors "for their investments in more efficient water use". In this regard, he particularly highlighted the involvement of the agriculture and livestock sectors, and he urged them to make "an extra effort, to which other productive sectors must also contribute". He also thanked the local councils for their collaboration in the modernisation of water supply networks.
"The combination of these efforts, together with the investments, the use of water from desalination plants and regeneration, has allowed us to delay the activation of the emergency phase in the Ter-Llobregat system by 15 months," Aragonès emphasised.
In order to continue fighting against the effects of the drought, the president remarked that"water production will be further reinforced through desalination plants and the obtaining of water through regeneration", with short-term measures and also investments in its volume. At the same time, collaboration and economic support for local councils and administrations is being intensified"for emergency works, from the modernisation of networks to the recovery of wells".
Aragonès also made it a priority to intensify collaboration with the Spanish government, so that "the measures decided upon can be implemented as quickly as possible".
"The joint effort will allow us to overcome the situation and above all to secure a future in which Catalonia is more resilient in the face of climate change so we can look to the future with a commitment to shared prosperity and guaranteed rights for all," he reiterated.
Minister Mascort, meanwhile, emphasised that between 2027 and 2030, the country will have already completed the pending tasks regarding water cycle infrastructures, since it is this government that is leading the way in addressing the droughts to come. "Between 2027 and 2030 we will have much more water available, approximately 160 hm³. We will have expanded the Tordera desalination plant – meeting the planned deadlines – and we will have started the construction of the Foix desalination plant, three years ahead of its initial schedule," Mascort pointed out.