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Locals warned of summer water shortages in Malaga town supplied by tankers since 2007

Drilling work.
Drilling work. / SUR
  • New drilling is taking place to find more underground aquifers in Valle de Abdalajís, whose water supply was damaged during works to build the AVE high speed train line

The water supply problems in the inland village of Valle de Abdalajís are far from over. In fact only recently the town hall had to urge local residents to make "correct use" of drinking water due to the shortages in some areas.

There had been nighttime cuts in the supply, said the mayor José Romero, who said that the situation could get worse.

"We have a serious problem, there has always been the concern about whether we would get to the end of the day with enough water. This won't get better until there's a proper solution," he added.

The water supply problem in Valle del Abdalajís dates back to 2005 when the new high speed AVE railway line was being built close to the village.

The works damaged the underground aquifers that supplied the local area, causing water supply problems.

According to an agreement signed in 2007, Adif, the Spanish railway infrastructure company has been supplying the village with a daily delivery of water by road in tankers to compensate for the damage. However the agreement, meant to be a temporary solution, expired in October 2020 after 13 years.

The railway company, part of the central government's Transport Ministry, is still sending the tankers, however, after a lawsuit filed by the local council led the National Court to order the delivery to continue until the case has been resolved.

"This is a situation of uncertainty, as it's just putting a patch over the problem to get from one day to the next," said the mayor.

He added that they had asked the court for an increase in the number of tankers delivering water during the summer due to prevent shortages.

"We have more residents in the village at this time of year, as well as rural tourism. Unfortunately we are having serious supply problems in some neighbourhoods," he said last month.

The town hall has started drilling work to search for more underground supplies. "We're getting some more water, but they are not large wells and the water is in poor condition," said Romero.

The Diputación, the provincial government, is working on a study to improve these wells, as they cannot provide enough water to supply the whole village.

"There are good intentions on the part of the Junta [Andalusian authority] and [central government] ministries, but nothing is ever finalised," said the mayor, who is calling for a "definitive" plan that would solve the village's water problems, "as stated in the agreement signed with Adif", he pointed out.

"We don't understand how it can be so difficult to understand that after so many years it's necessary to find a complete solution," he said.