Barcelona water: Barcelona is heading for a ‘drought emergency’ as water shortages worsen

Barcelona is heading for a ‘drought emergency’ as water shortages worsen

Green News

A green pedal boat is tied to a dock in a dried part of the Sau reservoir.
  –  Copyright 
AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

By Euronews  with AP & AFP

Barcelona is facing water shortages as Spain experiences one of its worst droughts in decades.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told parliament on Wednesday (19 April) that “drought is going to be one of the central political and territorial debates of our country over the coming years.”

“This is clearly our responsibility, our duty, because the challenge we face from climate change and water stress is evident.” 

In the northeast of Spain, Catalonia’s 7.7 million residents are suffering the effects of 32 months of drought. Lack of rainfall is particularly bad in Barcelona where reservoirs are now running dry.

Authorities warned on Tuesday that the region is heading for a “drought emergency” in September unless forecasts for rain improve. It would mean even tighter restrictions on water use.

“At this point, it’s the worst problem we’re facing,” said Catalan leader Pere Aragones, lamenting one of “the worst droughts in 50 years”.

Reservoirs are running low in Catalonia

Barcelona, Girona and other towns and villages in the area are supplied with water by the Ter-Llobregat river system. Spain’s government has said that its reservoirs – and others in Catalonia – have shrunk to 27 per cent of their capacity.

The only region in Spain that is worse is the Guadalquivir river basin in southern Andalusia where reservoirs are at just 26 per cent of capacity.

Around 13 cubic hectometres of water were moved from Catalonia’s Sau reservoir to another nearby in recent weeks in order to preserve water quality. Thousands of invasive fish have been culled to protect native species as the levels drop.

Authorities in Spain’s parched northeast warned Tuesday that Barcelona and a wide surrounding area could face even tighter restrictions on water use.Emilio Morenatti/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

It comes after levels fell so low last summer that the ruins of an 11th-century church were revealed from beneath the surface.

Current restrictions mean that Catalonia’s cities are only allowed to use 230 litres of water per person per day. That includes personal use and also public services like fountains or street cleaning. Under “emergency” plans, that quota would drop to 200 litres.

The average person consumes around 116 litres a day for domestic use alone. The region’s government is now looking to introduce fines for cities that use too much water.

Which Spanish towns are switching off water?

The situation is already bad for some of Catalonia’s towns and villages. L’Espluga de Francoli, 100 kilometres west of Barcelona, has been under water rationing for months.

Between 10 pm and 7 am every night, domestic water supplies are switched off for its 3,600 residents. Three times a week, a tanker truck brings water to top up its supplies

“Climate change.. has taken hold very quickly over the past two or three years,” Xavier Rosell, who is responsible for environmental issues and municipal services in the area, told AFP.

The region saw similar severe water shortages between 2003 and 2008 but now periods of drought are becoming more frequent and more intense.

“We’re facing a difficult moment in terms of both water resources and rainfall,” Spain’s Agriculture Minister Luis Planas said after the weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

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Can I drink the tap water in Barcelona?

Can you drink the tap water in Barcelona? Why does it taste so bad? What are the possible issues and contaminants? What is the best water filter for Barcelona?

The short answer is yes, the tap water in Barcelona is generally safe to drink.

The typical reaction by locals and visitors is: “Have you tasted and smelled it? It can’t be good.”

So what’s the truth? Are there any risks and what can you do to improve quality and taste? In this article we straighten out the facts.

NEW: Check the tap water quality based on your local postcode in Spain: Water Quality Report

Where does the tap water in Barcelona come from?

Tap water in Barcelona comes from two rivers, Ter and Llobregat. In addition to this Barcelona has one of Europe’s largest desalinization plants with a capacity of up to 20% of the cities demand.  The salt water plant was constructed after water shortage back in 2008 in Barcelona but not used much since it’s expensive to operate. 

Llobregat, which makes up the majority of the water has high levels of minerals, including potassium, magnesium and carbonates because it crosses an extremely salty region around Súria. If you drink Llobregat water before Súria, it tastes pretty good but it’s very salty afterwards. In addition to this a lot of pollution enters the water from industries and farm land along the river. The water treatment removes all the pollutants and most of the salt with osmosis but that’s an expensive treatment. This combined with high levels of chlorine to protect the water from contamination in the way to your tap is the main reason for the poor taste. Read more about our visit to the water plant.

So can I drink tap water in Barcelona?

Based on the water regulators and general consensus of the scientific community definitely yes. 

WWF sums it up in their travel guide: “it’s drinkable but not known for its taste.” 

The main reason it tastes bad is that it’s high on mineral content (hard water) and when chlorine is added this gives it a poor taste. One common myth is that hard water which causes limescale causes kidneystones and other health issues. There is no scientific evidence that this is the case.

Many people choose bottled water due to taste preference but as you will find out below this could actually be worse.

According to General de Sanidad (the government agency that looks after the tap water in Spain) and Aigües de Barcelona (the local water company) it’s potable (drinkable) according to all international standards including the EU and WHO.

We’ve heard anecdotal evidence that people arriving to Barcelona from places with better water had bad stomachs (light diarrhea) the first couple of months. However there is no scientific research on this but it’s possible that it’s a problem for people with sensitive stomachs.

What are the potential issues with tap water in Barcelona?

Although the tap water that goes into water network in Barcelona is safe to drink there are still two potential issues:

1. Microplastics 

Microplastics have been found in over 80% of all tap water in Europe. Aigues de Barcelona has acknowledged that there may be microplastics in the local tap water but not how much. Nevertheless, the amount of microplastics is considerably less than bottled water and according to WHO there are no known health risks yet to humans.  

2. Pipe corrosion / leeching

Contaminants from pipe corrosion and leeching in your building our house are not tested by the water provider and could potentially cause contamination in your tap water. This includes copper, iron, biofilm and microplastics. Despite common myths about this, it’s still uncommon. In the few cases where it does happen it’s usually visible as the water will turn brown/yellow when you haven’t used the tap for a while.

If you are concerned about your local tap water then the best alternative is an affordable water filter such as TAPP 2. The filters cost about 5 Euro per month and will give you better tasting water, save money, provide drinking water from the tap whenever you need and reduce plastic waste.

Read more about how to chose the best on faucet filter and what activated carbon filters such as TAPP remove.

Is bottled water safer?

It definitely tastes better but there are actually more official reports of people getting sick from bottled water than the tap water. One recent incident from 2016 where thousands of people got sick from contaminated bottled water. Filtered tap water and probably also tap water is safer and healthier than bottled water.

In addition to this the plastic from the bottles may be bad for you and it’s horrible for the environment. According to recent research microplastics were found in 93% of all bottled water.

Another issue is that although 80% of Spanish households claim to recycle the reality is that less than 50% of plastic bottles get recycled and less than 20% of new bottles are made out of recycled plastic. Furthermore the production and recycling process are bad for the environment and transportation of bottled water has a high carbon footprint.

Finally bottled water will cost you an average of €280 per year and the hassle of carrying home heavy bottles every week. In conclusion, avoid bottled water if you can.

Where can I buy a water filter for Barcelona?

Thinking that a water filter might be a good idea? You can buy a TAPP water filter for Barcelona on this website, Amazon as well as several stores.

Read about how TAPP compares to other water filters including Brita and Reverse Osmosis.

In Summary

  • Tap water in Barcelona is safe and drinkable even if it doesn’t taste good
  • For great tasting water use an affordable water filter such as EcoPro or EcoPro Compact
  • If you are concerned about contaminants or limescale in your tap water then EcoPro will remove over 100+ substances to make your water safer than any bottled water   
  • Avoid bottled water if you can as it’s bad for the planet, your wallet and not healthier

Also read about tap water in Spain including most other cities.

What is the water like in Barcelona? – TURIZM.RU

When visiting large resort towns, one of the important factors for tourists is water: both drinking and the one in the reservoirs. Often people refuse to visit a particular country if the water in the sea is dirty. For example, many tourists prefer not to travel to Pattaya (Thailand) due to severe pollution of the sea and coastline.

Drinking water

Drinking water in Barcelona, ​​like in other big cities, is not very good. No, it is not dirty – it’s just that the water goes through a large number of filters and because of this it has a very unpleasant aftertaste.

According to a study conducted in 2008, Barcelona was among the top three cities with the worst water. Naturally, after all, water for purification originally comes from two rivers – Ter and Lobregat. However, already two years later, in 2010, in the report on the health of citizens, it was recorded that the quality of water and air has improved quite a lot and is now within the framework of European Union standards.

Travel agencies recommend that tourists buy water in plastic or glass bottles, which are sold in local supermarkets. Unfortunately for visitors to the city, bottled drinking water in Barcelona is quite expensive (in some stores it is even more expensive than a bottle of wine). Therefore, knowledgeable tourists prefer to take small camping flasks from home.

There are special fountains all over Barcelona, ​​where delicious purified drinking water flows, so every tourist will need his own flask. If you do not buy water in supermarkets, you can easily save up to 10 euros per day on this alone.

By the way, bottles of inexpensive mineral water are most often sold simply in small local supermarkets, such as those that are in abundance on the Ramblas. If you buy water from stalls, it will cost about 2 euros per liter, but the same bottle in the supermarket will cost half a euro. In some supermarkets, you can find ordinary clean water at a price of 63 euro cents for 5 liters.

Barcelona weather and sea temperature

There are a lot of rumors about the weather in Barcelona: some say that it rains a lot in winter, gale-force winds, that it is warm at night and cold during the day. In winter, the temperature during the day is about 25-30 degrees. Despite all the rumors, the water in Barcelona in winter is quite warm: about 16 degrees (of course, off the coast). According to statistics, the warmest sea water is observed in the summer: July, August.

Sea water reaches its peak of warmth by the beginning of August, then tourists go into the sea as if into “fresh milk”. Thus, the average temperature of sea water in August will reach 26 degrees, while the minimum temperature (for example, due to rain) will reach 24 degrees. In September sea water temperature in Barcelona is around 28°C, but after the first ten days of the month it starts to get colder. Therefore, the most relevant time for tourists to visit Barcelona is August – early September.

The city itself is conditionally divided into three beaches, and each of them is so close to each other that the temperature between them is minimal. Thus, even if you measure the temperature in one place, it will become the main indicator for all three beaches.

That is why the tourist should decide what he wants from the rest – the bright sun, clean sand or water, like “fresh milk”. And after that, decide which beach he wants to go to. With the help of a table with an average annual temperature, you can decide in which month it is better to visit Barcelona. For example, in January – 13 degrees, in February – 12, in May – 16, in June – 19, by August it becomes about 22, and by November it gets colder again – about 20.

A bit about the beaches

The first beach is Barceloneta. It is called so because of the adjacent quarter, which used to be inhabited by sailors. The beach is about a kilometer long and about 40 meters wide. You can get to it either by a rented car, or on foot or by train (if the tourist is traveling from the nearest town of Catalonia).

The second beach is called Bogatell. It is located in close proximity to the Olympic Port, so you can get to it both by bus and by metro line 4. By the way, the water temperature in Barcelona is measured on this beach. Its length is 600 meters, and its width is about 35 meters. Bogatell Beach is the safest beach, as there are several lifeguards and a special group of people looking after the order. Everywhere there are signs about the level of safety (this depends on the height of the waves and their power), and there is also a police post and the premises of the Red Cross.

Last beach – Mar Bella. It is located between Nova Mar and Bogatell. This beach is unique in that it is here that windsurfers gather. The beach itself is quite small – about half a kilometer long and 40 meters wide. Mar Bella is well planted with various plants and trees, which gives it some picturesqueness.

You can get to it by metro line 4 or by regular city bus.

With all of the above, do not forget that cool water and not quite clean drinking water will not upset you when visiting Barcelona. Indeed, for swimming in the clear sea, you can go to popular resorts that are located near Barcelona (30-40 minutes by bus), and drinking water can be easily replaced with popular carbonated drinks: Sprite, Fanta, Pepsi, which are in local supermarkets significantly lower than plain pure bottled water.

Barcelona (Catalonia) Sea Temperature Today

This data shows the water temperature in Barcelona. In addition to water temperature, you can also get information about air temperature, weather for today, tomorrow and in the coming days, surf forecast, as well as sunrise / sunset and moonrise data for a given location.

The water temperature in Barcelona today is 15.8 degrees Celsius. Based on our historical data over a period of ten years, the warmest sea in this day in Barcelona was recorded in 2007 and was 16.4°C, and the coldest was recorded in 2012 at 14°C. For the next 10 days, sea water temperature in Barcelona will remain unchanged at 15.8°C. April average sea water temperature in Barcelona is 14.5°C/64.4°F, the minimum temperature is 12.6°C/68.5°F, and the maximum is 17°C/68.5°F.

The beach season in Barcelona starts in June and ends in October. During those months, Barcelona water temperature does not drop below 20°C/68°F and therefore suitable for comfortable swimming. The average water temperature in Barcelona in winter reaches 14.1°C, in spring 15°C, in summer the average temperature rises to 23.8°C, and in autumn it is 21.3°C.

Barcelona Water temperature

Water temperature

Sea conditions

Sunrise and sunset

9today 3

Forecast of storm and sea waves in Barcelona today

In addition to water temperature, the presence and height of waves, as well as wind speed and direction, are important indicators for a comfortable stay on the beach. This data shows the average hourly wave height for today. For a more detailed forecast of sea conditions, wave height and direction for today and the coming days, go to the section Sea conditions in Barcelona. The data in the table is for April 23, 2023, time in GMT format 0 (you can change the time zone on the sea state forecast page)

4 05 900 073 0.52 m

0-3 h 3-6 h 6-9 h 9-12 h
0. 5 m 0.51 m
12-15 hours 15-18 hours 18-21 hours 21-24 hours
0.62 m 9007 4 9007 3 0.54 m 0.54 m

Weather forecast in Barcelona today

The air temperature in Barcelona and the characteristics of weather conditions for today (April 23, 2023). To view the weather forecast for the next few days, go to the weather forecast in Barcelona

9007 74

0-3 hours 3-6 hours 6-9 hours 9-12 hours
15.8°C 14.9°C 15.1°C 17.7°C
19.9°C 23.1°C 19.6°C 15.9°C

Monthly Barcelona Water Temperatures:

Monthly minimum, maximum, and average Barcelona water temperatures are shown below. In addition to the table values, a graph of changes in the average water temperature during the year is shown. Temperature data calculated from observations over the past 10 years

Month Avg Min. Max.
January 13.9°C 12.4°C 15.5°C cold
Barcelona water temperature in January
Barcelona water temperature in February
March 13.4°C 12°C 14.8°C
Water temperature in Barcelona in March
April 14.5°C 12.6°C 17°C cold
Barcelona water temperature in April
May 17.2°C 14.5°C 20.9°C 9007

Water temperature in Barcelona in May
June 21. 1°C 16.7°C 25°C warm 66

Barcelona water temperature in June
July 066

August 25.7°C 23.8°C 28.7°C hot
Water temperature in Barcelona in August
September 066

Water temperature in Barcelona in September 9October 21.6°C 18°C ​​ 24.2°C warm
November 17.9°C 15°C 21.1°C cold
Barcelona water temperature in November
December 15.2°C 13.2°C 17.6°C
Water temperature in Barcelona in December

Search for places to swim according to your criteria

If you are planning a beach holiday and want to enjoy the warm sea, select the day of the year, region and minimum comfortable water temperature. As a result, you will receive a list of countries and cities in which the average water temperature on this day over the past 10 years exceeds the value you selected

Australia & OceaniaAsiaAfricaMiddle EastEuropeNorth AmericaCentral America & CaribbeanSouth America
Date (day and month)
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031 JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberNovemberDecember
Water temperature: min 16°C
average temperature
Maximum temperature

Nearby beaches and cities

Nearest beaches and cities with water temperature, air temperature, weather and average wave height today

900 069

Water Weather Waves
La Virreina 307° 15. °C 0.55 m
Nou Barris 15.7°C 23°C 0.55 m
Barceloneta 15.6°C 23°C 0.55 m
Bogatell Beach 15.6°C 23°C
Mar Bella beach 15.6°C 23°C 0.55 m. 3 Badalona 16°C 22°C 0.55 m
Eixample 15.6°C 23°C 0.55 m

23°C 0.55 m

Catalonia photo gallery

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