As the Costa approaches the new hydrological year, starting on 1 October, the Junta de Andalucía's delegate for Environment and Urban Planning in Malaga, Adolfo Moreno Cerrera, has admitted that the situation in the Guadalhorce and Viñuela reservoirs is “pretty bad.” The Guadalhorce reservoir, which has been on alert since August with levels currently at 44 cubic hectometers, is only one quarter full.
Alerts and emergency systems are set by the Andalusian Mediterranean basins' special drought plan (PES), a document that sets out the measures to be taken if there is not enough rainfall. Measures can range from awareness and irrigation campaigns; restriction or prohibition of water use for purposes such as gardens and swimming pools; making excessive useage a criminal offence; and temporary increases in water rates. Priority is always given to water for domestic purposes.
The Junta's environment department is currently studying how to deal with the situation. “We are considering all possible scenarios and how to tackle them, although it is not easy,” said Moreno last weekend. However, with the risk of drought looming, the Junta de Andalucía has still not announced which measures it will take for the two reservoirs.
The farmers of the Guadalhorce valley and Axarquía region have been voicing their concerns for some time and Axarquía spokesperson, Alejandro Clavero, has described the situation as “critical.” However, farmers continue to irrigate their crops with water from the reservoirs. “We are waiting to see what Environment decides to do, then we'll see what we decide and how we will act,” he said.