In Spain, where drought continues to be worrisome in areas such as the south and north-east, is worsened by a supply network full of leaks, reports El País.
Non-revenue water or water that has been produced but is “lost” before it reaches the customer – is a serious challenge for Spanish water companies and municipalities, especially in rural Spain. In some localities, losses exceed 60% of the supply, according to audits carried out in recent months by communities such as the Balearic Islands and Galicia.
The government announced this week, in the context of the climate emergency, that it is looking to solve this issue by requiring municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants or suppliers of more than 10,000 cubic metres to submit data on their losses in the first quarter of 2025.
Once the government has received this information, it will draw up a general diagnosis and submit it by 2026 to the European Commission in the framework of the 2020 European directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption, which obliges states to have detailed statistics. Once the data has been analysed, a reduction target will be drafted in 2027.
In 2021, Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge was assigned 200 million from European Next Generation funds for a plan to improve the urban water cycle. Of this, 100 million was earmarked exclusively for improving supply and reducing losses in the networks of small and medium-sized municipalities and was distributed to the autonomous communities according to their population.
Data on non-revenue water
Data from 2021 carried out by the Balearic Government found that the public pipes of the island of Mallorca lost 27 cubic hectometres that year, a figure that could supply half a million people (half the population of the community), and represents 26% of the total supply of the island. With the water that is lost, it would be enough to fill the island's largest open-air reservoir, the Gorg Blau (7.3 cubic hectometres of capacity), almost four times over.
Nevertheless, experts warn that there is still a lack of information in many parts of the country, especially in small towns, where the problem is accentuated by a lack of technical resources and training for those in charge.