The water level in La Viñuela reservoir is still very low. / ñito salas

La Axarquía is receiving water pumped from the Costa del Sol to alleviate the effects of the drought

The Churriana 'bypass' is now in full operation, transferring 100 litres per second from La Concepción reservoir to towns and villages on the eastern coast

IGNACIO LILLO Malaga

The Churriana ‘bypass’ is ready and comes into full operation today, Monday 4 April, to transfer water from the western Costa del Sol to La Axarquía, where supplies are still urgently needed. It will be piped through to towns and villages on the coast at a rate of 100 litres per second and will be used exclusively for domestic supplies in order to preserve the water in La Viñuela reservoir, which despite the recent rain has only gained an extra four cubic hectometres.

In Marbella, the authorities are hoping they will not need to open the sluice gates of La Concepción reservoir, because it is practically full and more rain is on the way this week. At present it holds 55 Hm3, which is 89 per cent of its capacity.

The rainfall in the second half of March mainly benefited the Mediterranean coast of Andalucía but not equally: the Viñuela-Axarquía system did not receive a great deal of rain and that it is why it is still in a situation of exceptional drought.

The transfer of water will be stopped temporarily during Easter week because a large number of tourists are expected to be on the Costa del Sol then, and local demand will increase considerably.

The works to improve the Churriana ‘bypass’ included replacing a pipe so that twice as much water can now be transferred between different areas and to Malaga city, and supplies to the Guadahorce area are also improved. The works began a year ago and have cost over 1.4 million euros.