Mancomunidad president with the mayor of Mijas visiting some building work. SUR
Record investment for drinking water supplies announced as Costa del Sol's population rockets

Record investment for drinking water supplies announced as Costa del Sol's population rockets


Almost 349 million euros will go towards wastewater treatment, improving pipelines and increasing energy efficiency on the coast

Ignacio Lillo


Monday, 1 July 2024, 15:30

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A record 349-million-euro package of investments will go towards making drinking water more accessible to the Costa del Sol's growing population.

The Mancomunidad - a public consortium which offers shared services to eleven municipalities on the western stretch of Malaga province: Benahavís, Benalmádena, Casares, Estepona, Fuengirola, Istán, Manilva, Marbella, Mijas, Ojén and Torremolinos - through Acosol, launched the investment plan.

It's main objective is to renovate a large part of the water infrastructure of all the municipalities that make up the Mancomunidad in a bid to guarantee water supply and distribution, as well as to improve the efficiency of its sewerage and wastewater regeneration network.

The project is expected to run for five years, from 2025 to 2029. The 348 million euros will be split up into two blocks of funding. One, 232 million euros, will go towards the sanitation of the Western Costa del Sol such as treatment plants. That includes 46 million for improving pipe lines and new installations; 35 million for the improvement or replacement of sewerage networks and 129 million to promote the use of recycled water, through the improvement of quality, extension of tertiary systems and of recycled water supply networks.

More drinking water

The second block of funding, with 116 million budgeted, will be aimed at renewing the upstream supply system, with the aim of ensuring the quality, quantity and availability of supply for all municipalities. Of this, 75 million will be allocated to the improvement of transport and distribution infrastructures in the main upstream supply pipelines.

A further 29 million will go towards improving water regulation infrastructures, both in the west branch regulating reservoir and in the header reservoir at the Rio Verde drinking water treatment plant (Etap). A second reservoir will be built, which will be financed by the Junta and put out to tender in the coming months.

This is in addition to an allocation of 8.9 million euros to improve energy efficiency at the Marbella desalination plant. The Junta is finalising work to upgrade this station to its maximum capacity, 20 cubic hectometres per year. A total of 1.8 million will also go towards digitising the upstream supply pipelines, providing information and data in real time.

The population is multiplying

It comes as the western Costa del Sol experiences significant growth in its population, going from 289,000 inhabitants in 1996 to an average population of 945,000 people in 2023. That figures stretches to 1.4 million people in summer when tourists pour into the area.

Acosol's infrastructures and facilities, which were largely built in the 1970s and 1980s, have been ageing and wearing out since they were put into service. In recent years, Acosol has been working, in coordination with the Junta, on the design of new infrastructures and the best use of current ones.

The investment package proposal will be presented for approval at the next plenary session chaired by Manuel Cardeña.

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