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City Profiles

San Sebastian/Donostia - Spain

Main motivation for taking adaptation action

San Sebastian is acutely aware of the impacts of climate change and has therefore set an ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral. In addition to its mitigation targets, San Sebastian also seeks to raise public awareness and change public opinion about sustainability and climate change, improve public health in the face of a changing cliamte, reduce the impacts thereof and improve the overall quality of life of its residents.

Adaptation strategy

Have you already developed an adaptation strategy?
No, we do not have an adaptation strategy but are currently developing one
Name of the strategy/ plan (If adopted)
Local Plan to Combat Climate Change 2008-2013
Weblink of the strategy/ plan$File/PLCC%20definitivo%20070108.pdf
Summary of the strategy/plan
San Sebastian's Local Plan outlines the city's contribution to climate change mitigation and is inspired by the Kyoto Protocol. While the Plan stems from the city's mitigation efforts, its has three fronts: mitigation, compensation, and adaptation. Broad themes in the Plan include sustainable mobility, a new energy model, responsible water and waste management, and the protection of natural areas and resources.

Planned adaptation actions

The Plan incorporates a number of adaptation-related measures including reducing water consumption; improving the efficiency of the drinking water treatment process; promoting the adoption of a new ordinance that aims better adapt buildings to the climatic conditions of the area; creating urban parks and gardens that protect and enhance biodiversity; creating and maintaining green areas and corridors; restorating wetlands; studying/planning for the eradication or control of invasive species; afforestating municipal land.

Good practice / spotlight item

Addressing water scarcity

When it comes to adaptation, much emphasis in San Sebastian's is placed on the reduction and preservation of water. The city has designed a plan made up of 3 main components that promote the sustainable use of the water, namely: 

  1. Reduction of water consumption via increased efficiency: This component includes activities like the development of a water consumption study for improved water demand management; optimization and modernization of water infrastructure in the city as the potable water deposits and distribution systems; improved quality control of sea and river water to uphold EU standards; and improved collection and use of rainfall water for street cleaning and the maintenance of parks and gardens. 
  2. Adaptation of water system infrastructure: Includes working together with the “Mancomunidad del Añarbe” in adapting the infrastructure of the dam and sewage treatment plant to the future conditions due to climate change.
  3. Awareness raising campaign in the local community: This component includes the construction of structures like a water museum in Ulia and the River Park Urumea that show the citizens of the region the importance of the water and its preservation. Furthermore, the city has planned awareness raising campaigns around reduced water consumption. Measures in such campaigns include, for example, the correct use of detergents, the protection of beaches and harbours, and awareness of the marine environment that surrounds the city.
What sectors are concerned
  • Water management
  • Coastal areas
San Sebastian/Donostia

The coastline in San Sebastian. Source: CC ShareAlike 3.0 Spain License 

Climate change impacts

  • Extreme Temperatures
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Storms

Key vulnerable sectors

  • Financial
  • Buildings
  • Health
  • Energy
  • Transport


Juan Karlos Eizagirre


184000 inhabitants

Contact person

Ana Juaristi Arrieta
Environmental Health and Sustainability Department


Mayors Adapt signatory

Date of officially joining Mayors Adapt

Jun 20, 2014

Last Update

Jan 31, 2017

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