The countdown to be in the sea is on! Maybe in a month the sea might be warm enough to snorkel in.
It could be even earlier this year to swim in the sea. Last year the water temperature was as warm as the air which is rare for this part of the Mediterranean Sea. Usually the sea’s colder than the air temperature and I can freeze quickly if snorkelling not moving much. Last year it was like swimming in bathwater. The cause is no doubt climate change. And while you don’t think about climate change on your doorstep, it is.
I knew that the water levels in Cataluyna were low, but I didn’t know just how low. The main reservoirs for Barcelona are at 25% capacity as there hasn’t been any significant rain to replenish it or snow on the mountains for snow melt in 30 months. I also didn’t know that the whole of Spain has been in drought for a few years. And not just Spain, France, Italy and some parts of Germany also. The water is always there on tap. The Catalan regional government has recently set a limit of 230 litres per person per day. If no heavy rains come by September the province could declare a water emergency with 200 litres or lower of water per day per person. I’ve no idea how this will be enforced. Drought isn’t new to the Mediterranean however climate change is making the situation worse. Some places in Catalunya already have domestic water supplies cut off daily from 22.00-07.00 daily. I do my best to save water by switiching off the shower shampooing, conditioning, soaping up, washing my face and shaving but I was shocked how much water I use per day on my last water bill. More, way more than allowed. I thought I was doing okay. The biggest culprits are the shower and the washing machine. I use magnesium pellets to wash with and thankfully these don’t need a rinse cycle. Now I’m watching the machine for when it goes to rinse, stopping it for spin drain cycle. I’ll give this a few weeks to see if the clothes are as clean as with rinse. I’ll also see in a few bills if this is working (the water agency doesn’t always read the meter as ‘wasn’t allowed access’ so they estimate based on last years consumption for the same period). Also, I used to let the hot tap run in the bathroom sink when washing my face at night. Hot water takes so long to come through. Now I suck up the colder water and when I come to wash my feet, I might have warm water. Washing my hands I don’t let the water run while I soap up and neither when rinsing dishes. I close the tap while I place items on the draining board. Koa’s the cat water, any left I pour over balcony plants. And lastly I’ve been doing this for years, TMI, I follow if it’s brown, flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow a few trips (unless at someone else’s or have visitors).
All this will probably make no difference at all to the on going drought, just a drop in the ocean (pun intended 😜) however it got me thinking where does the water go after down the drain. To a water processing plant and after it’s treated it’s put back into the system. Some is lost, but some surely is recycled/treated back so why isn’t there enough water in circulation? And why with a city by the sea isn’t desalation plant transformed into drinking water?
A little research later…. There is a desalation plant! It was built during the last water shortage in 2008. You an see it arriving by air near the airport. One article said it isn’t used often as it’s too expensive to operate. The most up to date articles I could find were from El Diario (in Spanish) which says it’s was working at 60% capacity last year and The Local ES which says it’s working full time. Most of Barcelona’s driving water comes from two rivers; Ter and Llobergrat which are running low. The water’s treated removing pollution from farming and other industries along the river. This is why sometimes in the morning I can smell chlorine in the water. I’ll take desalinated sea water over fresh water treated from industrial and farming pollution. If I’m honest I’d rather the land is developed from water plants than digital IT hubs, but that’s another story. Whichever makes more money get the money and land.
Anyway, some blurry photos of fish enjoying the warmer city beaches last year:
I think this is a Tompot blenny/Parablennius gattourugine. I saw this one only a handful of times looking like a zebra at the city beach and one at Lloret del Mar. According to my fish ID book it’s one of the larger Mediterranean blennies and can easily be approached. I noticed that ones I saw were actually shy and swam away to hide unlike rainbow wrasses and striped red mullets which just ignored me.
I have no idea what fish these are! I only saw a handful late August to September.
I think these are Striped red mullets/Mullus surmuletus. They have no care for humans or any other fish by foraging and hunting!
I never noticed until editing the black and yellow spot on their pectoral fins like butterfly wings. Salema/Sarpa salpa
Thank you for stopping by! Do you have any water saving tips? Please share in the comments below. Until next time!