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New restrictions on water use

In brief

Last Tuesday the Resolution ACC/747/2023, of 6 March 2023, was published in the Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya (the Official Gazette of the Catalan Government). Said Resolution declared the state of exceptionality due to hydrological drought in the exploitation units of the Llobregat Reservoirs, Ter Reservoirs and Ter-Llobregat Reservoirs and modified the states of hydrological and pluviometric drought of other exploitation units in Catalonia (Spain)

In depth

The declaration of the exceptionality state is regulated in the so-called Special Action Plan in situation of alert and possible drought (PEA) and implies increasing the restrictions on water use. Said restrictions include reductions in water consumption, which must be of 15% for industrial uses, 30% for livestock uses, 40% for agricultural irrigation, 50% for recreational uses involving irrigation and 15% for other recreational uses.

Along with this Resolution, the Catalan Government has also approved the Decree-Law 1/2023, of 28 February 2023, establishing extraordinary and urgent measures to address the exceptional drought situation in the area of the river basin district of Catalonia, which was published on 2 March 2023.

Said Decree-Law introduces new measures, which are additional and complementary to those established in the PEA.

The Decree-Law also introduces a new article in the Consolidated Text of the water legislation in Catalonia (Legislative Decree 3/2003, of 4 November), which regulates a new sanctioning regime for non-compliance with the PEA, and foresees fines up to EUR 10,000 for minor infringements, EUR 50,000 for serious infringements and EUR 150,000 for very serious infringements.

Taking in consideration the scope of these measures, which affect several sectors, and that the situation may become more severe and vary as we approach the summer, it is important to monitor the regulations that may be approved by the Catalan Water Agency, as it is the body responsible for declaring the states of drought (Alert, Exceptionality or Emergency), provided for in the PEA, when the thresholds are reached in the indicators regulated therein.

How can we help you?

Baker McKenzie can monitor the restrictions that may be approved to keep you informed, as well as advice on the implications that the declaration of the different states of drought (Alert, Exceptionality or Emergency), may have for the different sectors and, in particular, on the measures that companies must adopt in order to adapt to these regulations and avoid the imposition of the aforementioned new fines.

Click here to see the Spanish version.


Elisabet is a Senior Associate experienced Public Law/ Regulatory lawyer in Baker McKenzie's Barcelona office. She has more than 10 years' experience advising heavyweight companies on public law and regulatory issues. Elisabet advises both national and multinational companies on public procurement, administrative compliance, license schemes, environmental, ESG, regulatory, and products-related matters (circular economy and sustainability requirements, green claims, consumer protection issues, etc), including assistance before regulators, authorities, and courts. In addition, she regularly advises private companies on regulatory issues related to business expansion and the opening of new plants/premises. She also advises on litigation and trials related to the areas of specialization. She has extensive experience in the consumer & goods and life sciences sectors. Regarding the life sciences sector, she offers advice to Spanish and foreign life sciences companies and represent them before authorities and courts regarding public procurement issues, price & reimbursement procedures, authorization and registration, promotion and advertising of medicines, and other regulatory issues related to medicinal products, medical devices, cosmetics, food supplements and other foods for particular nutritional uses. She also professor at Pompeu Fabra University, UPF Barcelona School of Management and ESADE Law School in the field of Public Law. She regularly participates in publications and articles related to her specialty.


Nataly Trenkamp is an Associate in Baker McKenzie Barcelona office.

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