Neither refuse to serve it nor charge for it.
From Monday April 11 all bars and restaurants in Spain are required by law to offer free tap water to their customers, as an alternative to bottled water.
This is established by the new Law on Waste and Contaminated Soil for a Circular Economy, which has just come into force after being published on Saturday in the Official State Gazette (BOE). The new regulations establish that the consumption of non-bottled water must be encouraged, in order to reduce the consumption of plastics, in particular plastic bottles.
"Establishments in the hotel and restaurant sector will always have to offer consumers, customers or users of their services the possibility of consuming unpackaged water free of charge and complementary to the offer of the same establishment," reads the legal text.
The Spanish authorities have been considering this measure for several years. In 2020 it was included in the draft of the law that has just entered into force.
Therefore, it is the first time that it becomes a general obligation for bars and restaurants. Until now, each establishment could choose how to manage tap water consumption by its customers: some of them already offered it for free, while others charged for it.
The new law also proposes to "encourage" the consumption of water in public spaces through the installation of drinking water fountains and the use of reusable containers.
In health centers, plastic bottles will continue to be used.
The law also bans the sale of some single-use plastics, such as food containers for immediate consumption, cotton swabs, cups and cutlery.
To encourage consumers to purchase plastic-free products, the law obliges establishments of more than 400 square meters (supermarkets) to dedicate at least 20% of their space to products without packaging, sold in bulk or through reusable containers.