The ship that ran aground off La Bajadilla beach took a battering on Wednesday. J-L
It never rains to everyone’s taste, goes the old Spanish refrain and this autumn, in Malaga, it’s more fitting than ever.
Recent downpours have left a trail of damage in a third of the towns in the province, destroying homes, roads and even lives. On the other hand, the water has helped the burnt trees left standing after the summer forest fires in Mijas, the Guadalhorce valley and the Costa del Sol to start their vital regrowth. And the heavy rain has filtered through to the water table and filled reservoirs for a time when the clouds disappear once again from a region used to being sunny.
After a very dry 2011, this year the autumn rain has been so abundant that the months of September and October have been classified as “very wet” by the Malaga branch of AEMET, the national weather agency. The first week of November has shown signs of following suit.
Up to the end of last week, the volume of water stored has risen to 434 square hectometres or 70 per cent of the total storage capacity. This means that the risk of drought in the region has abated in the medium term.
From the end of the summer until the end of last week the local reservoirs had filled by 30 cubic hectometres. With the ongoing heavy showers this figure, equivalent to six months’ consumption in Malaga city during the autumn and winter period or one month’s consumption in the whole province during August, looks to be vastly exceeded.
The regional councillor for the environment, Javier Carnero, reckons that a more accurate figure can be taken in two weeks’ time when the current rainfall has just finished running into the Guadalhorce and Guadalteba reservoirs. Carnero also admiited, with relief, that it’s a good situation to be in.
In terms of zones in the province, the Costa del Sol has the biggest water reserve deficit with La Concepcíon reservoir filled to 50 per cent of its capacity. Though small, the reservoir does have the advantage of filling rapidly when the rain comes.
Malaga city and the Guadalhorce valley area are in an excellent state with regard to water levels. The Guadalhorce reservoir is 94 per cent full now.
Another area of Malaga province that has benefitted from the rain is the Axarquía whose principal reservoir at La Viñuela is now 71 per cent full.
Meanwhile Antequera, which rarely suffers from a complete lack of water, now has all its reservoirs full which means, even if it doesn’t rain any further, a six month supply of water for its entire population.
While inland areas are rejoicing in replenished water supplies the coast has not fared so well. With wind speeds up to 70 kilometres an hour and three metre high waves on Wednesday, sand has been washed away and piles of cane and other detritus dumped on beaches by the storms. Torrox, on the eastern coast of Malaga province is one of the worst places affected with most of the sand at Ferrera and Calaceite beaches gone. In Marbella, ash from forest fires has left black tide marks all over the sand.
According to AEMET, it’s possible that in just three months there might be more rainfall than in the whole of last year. Malaga province is currently on yellow alert because of heavy rain though it is expected to abate this weekend and Sunday in particular should be warm and sunny.
Fausto Polvorinos, head forecaster at AEMET, says that after this week’s especially heavy rain the autumn should proceed as normal, adding that “when I say normal I mean that it will rain”.