Severe Drought in Catalonia: Are Hotel Pools Going Dry?

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Will you be able to enjoy the pool at your Airbnb in Sitges or the jacuzzi at your hotel in Barcelona? The most touristic region of Spain, Catalonia, has declared a state of emergency due to drought in 202 municipalities, mainly in the Barcelona metropolitan area.

Agriculture and industry are affected, of course, but likely also the tourism sector. It’s worth noting that the Spanish region is the most visited in the country, having welcomed 21.2 million tourists in 2023 out of a total of 85.1 million in the country, and has a significant hotel infrastructure.

The plan, which responds to this unprecedented precipitation crisis, includes, among other restrictions, the prohibition of filling, even partially, the pools. With a few exceptions, such as those intended for sports use, or those using seawater.

It is this latter option that tourist establishments capable of adapting will try to use. This remains to be seen.

Because according to the president of the *Gremio de hoteles de Barcelona* association, Jordi Clos, quoted by the EFE agency, hotels unable to modify their pools will lament “a significant loss of occupancy.” Still, these establishments consume even more than the maximum average imposed by the authorities, 200 liters per inhabitant per day.

In 2016, a guest in a five-star hotel consumed 545 liters, compared to 165 in a two-star hotel. As for the beach, it will be open.

But there won’t be any showers to remove sand or salt. They will be disconnected for the entire duration of the state of emergency.

You’ll have to wait until you get back to the hotel, where between 50 and 70% of water consumption goes to the bathrooms. Does this mean that your host will knock on the door if you take too long to shower?

No. Legal obligations – and fines – apply to municipalities, even though the institutions and companies involved are launching awareness campaigns for visitors to become aware of the seriousness of the situation and act responsibly.

The Cotton House, a five-star hotel in Barcelona, has warned that it will only change sheets and towels upon request from guests or upon indication from the staff, while Barcelona Princess has installed water meters per room, for educational purposes only.

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