FOR the past 40 years, the 11th-century stone church remained underwater, only its bell tower visible above the water in the dam.
But a drought has caused the reservoir to dry up, exposing the church completely.
The striking image underscores the severity of the situation - drying dams are causing problems in Barcelona, the region's glamorous capital, which had to charter ships to bring in drinking water.
The village of Sant Roma, where the church is, and the surrounding valley were flooded in the 1960s to provide water for the Catalonia region.
This year, receding waters have exposed the church completely, attracting crowds of tourists who stand gazing at it on the dusty bed of the reservoir.
Neighbouring Vilanova de Sau is enjoying a tourist boom, its mayor Joan Riera said.
'Every time it's on television, a whole lot of people come.
CUT IN WATER SUPPLIES
After last month's showers, reservoirs in the region are now about 25 per cent full.
This will help provide for a hot, dry summer, but emergency measures may only have been delayed.
For now, the short-term outlook is tolerable, but Spanish officials said that without shipped water and a campaign to cut water waste, the city could face its first cut in domestic water supplies since 1953.
'If it doesn't rain and if we hadn't implemented solutions, then Barcelona would be facing supply cuts.
'But the signs are that work in progress and management measures will work perfectly,' said city council environment manager Jordi Campillo.
The tanker vessel Sichem Defender docked at Barcelona on 13 May, carrying 19,000 tonnes of water from the southern Catalan town of Tarragona.
|Tourists walk amid the remains of the once-flooded village Sant Roma and the church. (Photo: Reuters)
Overall, the ships will provide 6 per cent of the drinking water for 5.5 million people over the summer, as authorities bring in 10 boatloads from Tarragona, Marseille, and a desalination plant in southern Spain.
The total cost is estimated at 40 million euros ($85 million), including 32.5 million euros for port infrastructure to handle the water.
Ships are a stop-gap solution and, while they will quench citizens' thirst for a few months, Spanish authorities fear increasingly frequent drought around the Mediterranean might require more permanent measures.
A hosepipe ban has been in force for months in Spain's second city - fountains have been dry and arguments have broken out over how to share increasingly scarce water.
The regions of Valencia and Murcia have threatened to complain to the Constitutional Court about a controversial 180-million-euro pipeline from the river Ebro delta, due to supply Barcelona from October.
'It's an emergency measure to give drinking water to five million people who might not have it in a few months,' said Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Maria Fernandez de la Vega.
A long-term answer will be a desalination plant under construction on the outskirts of Barcelona and due on stream in May next year.
The plant is just one of several planned or being built in Spain, which will be needed to offset the impact of global warming in coming years, water experts said.
Ms Stephanie Blenckner of the Stockholm International Water Institute said countries like Spain needed to capture more rain water in future, as climate change would exacerbate alternating periods of drought and heavy rain.
'The rain is the biggest resource we have and we can dispose of it all year round if we have sensible storage opportunities.' she said.