Reducing dependence on rainwater, and consequently the swamps, and betting on regeneration was one of the messages launched yesterday by experts at the VIII Tourism, Territory and Society Conference, organized by the Jordi Comas Foundation in Cap Roig, in Calella de Palafrugell.

The director of Agbar, Jorge Manent, explained that if the investments in regeneration are carried out, the swamps will become “a complement” and not the “main source” of obtaining water, as has happened until now, a fact that has put all economic sectors in serious difficulties, from tourism to agriculture, passing through industry. Currently, 25% of the water consumed in the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona is regenerated, a percentage that will grow if the regeneration actions are applied in the Besòs basin, as the company foresees from the Next Generation funds. “The dependence on the Ter will be much lower”, emphasized the head of Aigües de Barcelona in a round table on water and tourism moderated by the deputy director of La Vanguardia, Enric Sierra.

One idea, to increase the percentages of waste water reuse, which was also shared by Jordi Morató, director of the Unesco chair of Sustainability at the UPC, who dismissed other solutions such as the proposal of several professional associations that advocated for an interconnection with the Ebro in case of emergency. “Structural solutions are needed and this happens through regeneration, otherwise there will come a time when the water from the south will not be enough either”, he added, and emphasized that Spain “is the third country with the highest consumption of water in “Europe and the third in the queue in water infrastructure”. For his part, the director of Agbar pointed out that the water mesh “is a good solution in cases of emergency”.

What they both agreed on was the need not to convert the mini-desalination plants, which this summer are planned to be installed in various parts of the territory such as in areas of the Alt Empordà, where there are a dozen municipalities that continue in the phase of exceptionality, in a permanent appeal. “It is a valid and complementary solution, but it does not have to be structural”, pointed out Manent. Even so, he said that in this episode of drought, if it had not been for the Prat and Blanes desalination plants and water regeneration, which contributed up to 60% of consumption, the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona would not have ‘would have saved from “massive cuts”.

Morató explained that some studies indicate that climate change will increase the need for water, for example for irrigation, and urged the search for innovative solutions. On the impact of tourism in this crisis, both indicated that it is not the main culprit of the drought, as it represents between 3% and 4% of water consumption in Catalonia. The measures applied by the sector have allowed a reduction in consumption of between 25% and 50% per person.

During the day there was also a debate on the frequent railway problems. Both the commissioner for the integral transfer of Rodalies in Catalonia, Pere Macias, and Isabel Pardo de Vera, who was president of Adif in 2020, agreed on the impossibility of monitoring the entire network to avoid thefts like the one at the weekend. They also agreed on the lack of investment that infrastructure has suffered historically. Macias explained that between 2007 and 2019 not a single Commuter or Regional train was bought and Vera explained that since 2005, when the AVE was under construction, only 250 million had been invested in the network conventional train throughout Spain.