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  • Availability: Does the country have plenty of drinking water or is it scarce?
  • Infrastructure: How widespread is access to safe drinking water and sanitation? What condition are pipes and sewers in?
  • Water usage: What is drinking water in this country used for? How much does every person use per day?
  • Projects: What projects regarding drinking water (supply or demand management) are planned, on-going or completed in this country?
  • Opportunities and threats: What are the biggest problems facing this country in the future? What is being done to solve them?
  • Norms and regulations: How is drinking water regulated? Are there efficiency standards for water-using appliances?
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Spain

Spain's wetlands are mostly on a small scale, with many having been lost completely since the 1960s. The largest lakes in Spain are called Sanabria and Banyoles 1; the main rivers are:
  • Tajo (1000km)
  • Duero (900km)
  • Júcar (500km)
  • Guadalquivir (650km)
  • Guadiana (800km)
  • Ebro (900km)

Drinking water for households came from the following sources in 2010: 67.5% from surface water, 29.2% from groundwater and 3.3% from other sources such as desalination 2.

The importance of desalination as a water source has increased steadily ever since the government abandoned plans for an Ebro river water transfer project 3. In 2009, more than 900 plants in Spain together produced 1.5 million cubic metres per day 4.


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Does the country have plenty of drinking water or is it scarce?

Availability

Spain is one of the most arid countries in Europe. In 2011, average precipitation was 636 millimetres, similar to Kenya and Romania 1. The renewable internal freshwater resources per person were 2,408 cubic metres in 2011 2. This is above the threshold for water stress.


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How widespread is access to safe drinking water and sanitation? What condition are pipes and sewers in?

Infrastructure

Access to an improved water source and to improved sanitation is universal in Spain 1.

The leakage rate was estimated at 8.4 per cent in 2010 2.

Water tariffs have generally risen in the last few years. While the average price for one cubic metre was € 1.29 in 2007 3, it had gone up to € 1.51 in 2010 4.


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What is drinking water in this country used for? How much does every person use per day?

Water usage

Spain's total annual freshwater withdrawals amounted to 32.5 billion cubic metres in 2011 1.

Average water use by Spanish households was 144 litres per person and day in 2010, down from 149 litres in 2009 and 157 litres in 2007 23.


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What projects regarding drinking water (supply or demand management) are planned, on-going or completed in this country?

Projects

In 2004, the Spanish government launched a program called AGUA to eliminate the country's water deficit. Building more desalination plants has been a major part of this program 1.

Other projects have been set up to increase water use efficiency. One example is Water saving city Zaragoza: This campaign was launched in 1997 to promote more efficient use of water by raising awareness and expanding use of water-saving technologies. The results are very positive: while the population in Zaragoza increased by 12 percent in the years to 2008, overall water consumption went down by 27 percent 2.


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What are the biggest problems facing this country in the future? What is being done to solve them?

Opportunities and Threats

As an arid country, Spain needs to manage its water supply and demand carefully. It has been successful in lowering household water use per person, arguably due to increasing the price of water.

Extended droughts like the one in 2012 severely affect harvests. They are predicted to become more frequent and more intense in the future 1. As Spain's agriculture requires water from dams for irrigation, managing supplies becomes even more important in times of drought.


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How is drinking water regulated? Are there efficiency standards for water-using appliances?

Norms and Regulations

As a member state of the European Union, the EU Drinking Water Directive sets out parameters for drinking water quality in Spain.

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    Authors

    09:51, 31 Jul 2014watersaving.comSwitzerland
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