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The state of Guadalteba reservoir in inland Malaga province the day the new decree was approved. EFE
Reassurance for Malaga and Costa del Sol tourism sectors following Andalucía's fresh drought decree
Drought crisis

Reassurance for Malaga and Costa del Sol tourism sectors following Andalucía's fresh drought decree

The regional government is to spend a further 217 million euros on measures to shore up water supply as the much-needed rain still fails to arrive

H. Barbotta / SUR

Seville / Malaga

Friday, 2 February 2024, 12:49

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The Junta de Andalucía has been stressing to the Costa del Sol tourism industry that a new drought decree in force from this week is good news for the area and will bring access to more water.

The latest decree from the regional government aims to go further to shore up and maximise the water supply for Andalucía in the face of the continued lack of rain. The plan will focus on using disused wells and boreholes, more desalination projects to make seawater usable and pushing local councils into fixing existing leaks in their water supply networks.

Approved on Monday this week, this is the fourth drought decree to be passed by regional ministers and comes with the largest extra budget allocation yet of 217 million euros across all Andalucía.

Criticism of central government

The regional government's representative in Malaga, Patricia Navarro, told tourism industry leaders on the Costa that the Junta has been working for four years on initiatives to improve water supplies, spending 300 million euros so far in that time, 55 million of which has been for the hard-hit Axarquía area.

However she criticised central government for not doing enough, especially on the desalination plant - which is Madrid's responsibility to build - for the eastern, Axarquía area. Navarro asked central government for "real commitment and speed" to get that project moving. She added that in the Axarquía area the Junta wants to bring in a portable desalination plant at the Trapiche water treatment centre.

Speaking about her meeting with associations of tourism and hospitality businesses, Navarro said, "I wanted to get across the message of calm as well and certainty ahead of the next tourist season."

Emergency situation

The Junta's new decree also focuses on reclaimed water to guarantee supply to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The regionwide measures are expected to provide an additional 81 cubic hectometres of water overall. Regional minister Carmen Crespo said, "We are in an emergency situation and we are acting at the limits of what we are able to."

Chief spokesperson for the Junta in Seville, Ramón Fernández-Pacheco, also accused central government of a lack of help this week and demanded more support. The Junta also hopes the EU will recognise the region's situation as an area with extreme exposure to drought, he added.

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