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Hotels will be able to fill their swimming pools this summer (file image). Salvador Salas
Filling of private swimming pools banned in south of Spain but hotel, registered tourist accommodation and public pools allowed

Filling of private swimming pools banned in south of Spain but hotel, registered tourist accommodation and public pools allowed

Some clarification came from a meeting of the Junta de Andalucía's drought management committee when it met on Thursday, but it will need to be ratified with the publication of an official decree in the coming days

Chus Heredia

Malaga

Friday, 15 March 2024

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A restriction on the filling of private swimming pools with potable water is to be maintained in the Andalucía region in the south of Spain this summer. The decision of the Junta regional government's drought management committee on the filling and refilling of swimming pools for this summer was long-awaited and had been demanded by different sectors, in particular by the Malaga Association of Property Administrators, who warned that the various regulations and decrees, both health and environmental, at a regional and local level were contradictory - leading to legal uncertainty and conflicts within and between communities of owners. The committee's decision will, however, need to be ratified with the publication of a new decree in the coming days.

Verdict

The drought committee's conclusion was that the prohibition contained in a 2021 regional decree should be maintained and neither private individuals or communities of owners will be able to fill their swimming pools with potable water this summer. But the ministry of Agriculture confirmed that the drought crisis regulation will not be imposed for health, educational, and sports complexes, registered tourist accommodation, hotels and public swimming pools.

However, there is an exception and privately owned salt water pools that have necessary certified facilities, and do not discharge into the sewage system, will be allowed

The decision was unanimous in a meeting in which the experts called for a meeting after Easter to re-evaluate the situation of the region's reservoirs and reserves.

Every two weeks

The secretary general for Water of the regional ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Ramiro Angulo, will chair the meetings of the commission for drought management of the hydrographic area of the Andalusian mediterranean river basins and that of the Guadalete-Barbate river basins. At the meetings, be held every two weeks from now, it is expected that the experts will have sufficient information to assess the adoption of a possible reduction in the savings measures currently in force for the aforementioned river basins.

Clarify

Angulo said the decision was taken "to explain and clarify the new possibilities established by the IV Drought Decree to offer maximum normality within the current drought period.As a result, solutions have been provided that offer balance and efficiency of the available water resources. And for this reason, it was unanimously agreed to allow the filling of municipal public swimming pools, sports or social clubs, those used for therapeutic purposes in health centres and those in tourist accommodations that are listed in the official register of the Andalusian regional government".

The Junta's drought management committee meeting was attended by the drought management commissions of the aforementioned river basins, as usual, and by members of other departments of the Andalusian regional government, and representatives of users and of business, trade unions and environmental organisations. The secretary general for Water thanked all the users, town councils, irrigators, agricultural organisations and associations for their efforts and understanding.

The meeting's agenda, included three main points. The first was the approval and endorsement of the session held a month ago, which set the limits of 160 litres per inhabitant per day throughout Malaga province (which includes the Costa del Sol) in a serious drought situation. The second point referred to the issue of filling swimming pools after the fourth drought decree. And the third point, relating to the Garganta del Capitán gorge and the urban use of this water for Algeciras.

Response of Malaga Association of Property Administrators

Given the existing uncertainty, the price of tankers with water had increased by more than 170% in one week, according to the association's Panel of Administrators (CAF). "We have had evidence of a tanker truck that has gone from 12,000 litres for 105 euros plus IVA [Spanish sales tax], to 285 euros in one week," the CAF said, in a statement, a few days ago.

Many municipalities and local companies have been waiting for the Junta de Andalucía decision before making decisions. The clarification of the rules by the Junta de Andalucía has been well received by the CAF. A spokesperson said: "They will allow us to adopt these restrictive measures with the legal certainty that has been demanded since the limitations began last summer in the municipalities of the Axarquía. However, we are awaiting the publication of these modifications in the Official Gazette of the Andalusian regional government (BOJA)".

The statement concluded by ratifying a commitment to support measures aimed at alleviating the drought situation in the province.

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