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El Trapiche clean-up continues after burst water pipe spills ten million litres of water in 30 minutes

El Trapiche's San Isidro church was among the worst affected buildings.
El Trapiche's San Isidro church was among the worst affected buildings. / E.C:
  • Around 50 homes, 12 cars and the village church were worst affected and one elderly resident had to be evacuated when levels reached 1.5 metres

Residents of the small village of El Trapiche, which belongs to Vélez-Málaga, have been assessing the damage caused to their properties and cars, as well as the local church, after a burst mains pipe connected to La Viñuela reservoir spilled around 10,000 cubic metres (ten million litres) of water in 30 minutes on Monday night.

Church affected

Fifty homes, 12 cars and the village's San Isidro church were worst affected when water levels rose to 1.5 metres on a 400-metre stretch of the main road to the north of the village, near to the water treatment plant. El Trapiche is situated around 11 kilometres south of La Viñuela reservoir.

Systems automatically cut off water supply from the reservoir, although as the pipe is 10 kilometres long, 1.2 metres in diametre and has a 2,000 litre per minute volume of flow, the water in the pipe at the time of the breakage spilled out, causing the "unavoidable" flood.

El Trapiche resident, Ángeles Rosas, told SUR on Tuesday that she and her family "spent all night cleaning and removing water from the house". She added that the family had to "seek refuge upstairs" as the water levels started to rise.

Ninety-year-old Carmela Sarmiento was the only person who needed to be evacuated during the incident as a recent hip operation had left her unable to reach the safety of the first floor of her home. Sarmiento was taken to the Axarquía hospital but was later discharged.

Parish priest, Eduardo Romero told SUR that while "the water luckily didn't reach church archives or images", it did cause significant damage to other items, including pews and objects belonging to the village's Holy Week brotherhood.

The burst pipe also created a large pothole in an area which is home to a fleet of lorries, causing a refrigerated trailer to fall into the hole.

Street cleaning company, Althenia, spent much of Tuesday clearing the road of water, mud and other residue, while fire and local police officers were also called to assist during the incident.

No water shortages

The damaged pipe is the responsibility of the Andalusian water agency, which belongs to the Junta de Andalucía regional government. Technicians are looking into what caused the pipe to burst and are repairingthe damage.

The agency confirmed that none of the towns and villages served by La Viñuela reservoir experienced problems with their water supply and that water was redirected from the El Atabal desalinisation plant in Malaga city.

The incident is being treated as an accident and it is believed that residents will be able to make insurance claims via the civil responsibility insurance of the Mancomunidad de Municipios Costa del Sol Oriental-Axarquía, the umbrella organisation which represents the town halls of the Axarquía.