Emergency meetings take place in attempt to avoid drought and restrictions in autumn

Low water levels in La Viñuela resevoir in January 2017.
Low water levels in La Viñuela resevoir in January 2017.A. P.
  • The agricultural sector will have its supply severely restricted and water for domestic use only is likely if it doesn't rain in September

Authorities and the agricultural sector have been stepping up action in recent weeks with the impending threat of drought looming over the Axarquía.

Last week the Junta de Andalucía met with environmental councillors at the Axarquía’s largest local authority, Vélez-Málaga, in what was seen as the first of a series of emergency planning meetings ahead of the October deadline. A further meeting with the Mancomunidad de Municipios de la Axarquía, which oversees all of the town halls in the area, as well as representatives from the agricultural sector took place on Tuesday to try to form an agreement and plan of action.

Authorities are saying that if there is no rainfall in September, the Viñuela reservoir is expected to fall below its minimum level and a drought will be declared. It is currently hovering above that mark, at just three cubic hectometres above the minimum.

The agricultural sector claims that it has been asking the Junta de Andalucía for many years to find a solution to the problem, which it believes it foresaw a long time ago, and president of the association of subtropical fruit producers, José Linares, said: “They have dedicated themselves to hoping it rains without doing anything.”

The Junta’s environment delegate, José Fiscal, said that the regional government’s priorities were to “connect the Chíllar river to the Viñuela reservoir,” which would bring 2.5 cubic hectometres of water per year and also to “connect Vélez-Málaga, Algarrobo and Torrox waste water stations to the reservoir” which would bring a further 10 cubic hectometres for the sector. If a drought is declared in October, water supply would be severely restricted for farming, prioritising water for domestic use.