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Carmen Crespo during her press conference on Tuesday. Rocío Ruz / Europa Press
Junta to maintain strict water use restrictions across south of Spain as latest rains 'do not solve the drought'
Drought crisis

Junta to maintain strict water use restrictions across south of Spain as latest rains 'do not solve the drought'

At the next meeting of the region's drought committees, the permitted amount of daily consumption could be increased - depending on the reserves and also taking into account that coastal municipalities multiply their population in the summer months due to the arrival of tourists

Wednesday, 3 April 2024, 18:29

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The Easter rains that fell throughout the Andalucía region have helped ease the situation but the drought still remains critical, a top Junta official has said.

The regional minister of agriculture Carmen Crespo said the Junta's tight water restrictions will remain in effect in a bid to guarantee supply and further savings. Following a meeting on Tuesday 2 April, officials spoke about the current situation where regional reservoirs, at their most critical level were below 20% capacity, but are now almost double that at 39.9%

Crespo was however in favour of making restrictions more lenient. This will be specified in the drought committees that the different river basin districts will hold next week, once the contributions of run-off water can be measured.

The permitted amount of consumption could be increased to between 180 and 225 litres per person per day, depending on the accumulated reserves in each area, and also taking into account that coastal municipalities multiply their population in the coming summer months due to the arrival of tourists. Crespo said the drought committees in each municipality will establish their own rules.

However, the regional minister warned that water must not only be guaranteed for human consumption, but also for sectors such as agriculture, tourism and industry.

Andalusian reservoirs are on average 39.9% full, however, in the Guadalquivir basin, which affects two thirds of the region, it is 43.1% full, while the Tinto-Odiel-Piedras-Chanza basin, in the province of Huelva, is 49.7% full.

It's a stark contrast with the Mediterranean basin (27.4% full), or the Guadalete-Barbate basin in Cadiz (27.2%). The Guadalquivir basin has reached a situation of normality, while the Mediterranean basin - which includes the Costa del Sol - has only managed to go from crisis status to severe.

Distribution

The distribution of rainfall over the Easter holidays days was not consistent across the region, with a wide range from 147mm recorded in Almeria province to just 21mm in Almeria city, and 84mm in Malaga. In the Grazalema area in Cadiz province, 390mm fell, but only 91mm was recorded in the province as a whole.

Crespo said the current reserves are above those of exactly one year ago, but below the average of the past decade. The councillor warned people to continue to be cautious and continue applying water-saving measures.

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