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The opening of swimming pools in communities and homes is still unknown for the summer. E. Cabezas
Head of Junta: 'It is foreseeable that community swimming pools will be allowed to be filled but maybe not single home ones'
 

Head of Junta: 'It is foreseeable that community swimming pools will be allowed to be filled but maybe not single home ones'

Juanma Moreno has said that local town halls across the Costa del Sol and the wider Malaga province must make the final ruling on the hot topic of whether or not private swimming pools will be allowed to be filled or refilled this summer

Chus Heredia

Malaga

Friday, 12 April 2024, 10:04

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Passing the hot potato regarding the filling or topping up of private swimming pools to the local town halls in Malaga province, including those on the Costa del Sol, has been a strategy that has been gaining momentum in recent weeks.

The Junta de Andalucía has already exempted public swimming pools in sports, health and education facilities, campsites and hotels from the ban on filling pools with potable water. They will be allowed to be filled this summer. But for private pools, both individual homes and communities, it is still up in the air, with the Andalusian government making it increasingly clear the final decision will be left up to local councils.

During the last drought committee meeting, no mention was made of the issue, which has been worrying groups such as the Association of Property Administrators (CAF), which wants legal certainty to avoid litigation and issues with residential developments, or with trade groups such as gardening, training, lifeguard, and pool maintenance companies. Concerned groups have come together and formed a platform, which has already taken to the streets on two occasions to voice their anger about the issue and the uncertainty it is creating in employment and contracts.

On Wednesday 10 of this week, the Junta's president Juanma Moreno took part in an Encuentros Ser / El País and referred to the region's drought crisis and the hot topic of filling swimming pools.

'Miraculous rains'

"The Easter rains have been miraculous. It has been a very helpful water in very difficult circumstances. I don't want us to be too optimistic either, we have had a water deficit for more than four years and it hasn't rained consistently throughout Andalucía," Moreno pointed out. He said water for human consumption is guaranteed, but that there are still limitations on agricultural irrigation.

"Malaga still has La Viñuela at 26% after run-offs. We are facing a situation that continues to be alarming," Moreno said. "In Malaga province we have increased the consumption limit per person; it is foreseeable that the filling of community pools will be allowed but it is difficult, although it will have to be the town councils who decide, whether private pools can be filled right now. I know that with these rains there are many people who thought that everything had been resolved but we still have limitations," he added.

Moreno called for prudence and responsibility and said the Junta will continue with the planned work, including the adaptation of ports for the arrival of ships with water. "We won't need them this summer, but we don't know when we will need them," he said.

Moreno has backed regenerated water and desalination and has considered that drought is a structural problem in Andalucía.

Patricia Navarro in Torrox: 'The ruling is still in force'

The delegate of the Junta in Malaga province, Patricia Navarro, warned at a meeting in Torrox that the order issued last February on the pools is still in force, so that, for the moment, only the filling and refilling of public, municipal or other administrations, therapeutic and hotel and tourist accommodation that are in the official register of the regional administration are allowed. "It was for a reason of sustaining employment, reinforcing and supporting such an important sector, as we have done with agriculture and reclaimed water," she added.

When asked why this issue was not discussed at the last drought committee, Navarro said they preferred to see how the rwservoir levels evolve. "It is not expected that the level of the reservoirs and resources will improve much more, but they can alleviate something, so we want to take the decisions that will be taken from now on with the prospect of a slightly longer hydrological year and with more components, which may have more rainfall, when the next committee is held in June," she said.

"It will be the local councils who will have to make this determination, because they are the ones who have the consumption limitations," she added. "When the Junta regulates consumption limitations, these saving measures, it does so for the local councils, who are responsible for the supply of water."

"Your limit is 200 litres per inhabitant per day, you will know how to manage it, while human supply is guaranteed," warned the delegate, addressing the municipalities of Malaga, "because each one has its own idiosyncrasies, the weight of the economic sectors is not the same in one municipality as in another," she said. "If the situation continues like this, what is being considered is that in the next drought committee this situation will be left in the hands of the local councils," she added, referring to the possible authorisation for the use of all swimming pools, beyond the public and tourist ones.

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