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Junta de Andalucía to meet with irrigators as drought fears increase

The Axarquía may start to see restrictions to the water supply.
The Axarquía may start to see restrictions to the water supply. / SUR
  • Reservoirs across Malaga province are below minimum levels with the Guadalteba and Viñuela at just 25 per cent of their capacity

The Junta de Andalucía is to meet with irrigators in the province next week to agree a series of measures in an effort to avoid declaring a drought.

The announcement came after the Junta's environment representative, José Fiscal, admitted on Monday that the lack of rainfall in the province is “worrying”.

Although the regional authority has not yet declared a drought in any of the eight provinces in Andalucía, Fiscal said that there were “115 measures ready to be put into action if necessary”. He did not, however, go on to say what any of these measures were.

Agricultural organisations have criticised the authorities' lack of willingness to carry out emergency work and transfer water from reservoirs that have higher levels of water to those that are below minimum levels.

Fiscal, who was speaking in Huelva, indicated that the panorama is generally “worrying” and although there is no immediate reason to declare a drought, he suggested that if there continues to be no rainfall then such a declaration is “probable” in some areas.

The seven reservoirs in Malaga province were, on Monday, at 208.24 cubic hectometres, which is the equivalent to just 33.7 per cent of their total capacity, compared with 240 cubic hectometres a year ago, according to data provided by the Junta de Andalucía environment department's Hidrosur system.

The biggest reservoirs, Guadalteba between Ardales and Campillos and La Viñuela in the Axarquía, are currently only at 25 per cent of their total capacity. The Guadalteba recorded just 38.05 cubic hectometres at the beginning of this week, compared with 53.94 cubic hectometres two months ago.

La Viñuela is standing at 39.75 cubic hectometres, down 15 from this time last year. Experts say that if there is no heavy rainfall over the coming months, there is no guarantee that the current reserves will be enough to supply the Axarquía in terms of domestic and agricultural use beyond the next 12 months. The area's agricultural sector consumes 22 hectometres annually, while domestic use across the 13 towns that use the reservoir stands at 13 hectometres per year.

It is believed that any measures agreed will be adopted immediately after next week's meeting.