People using the foot baths in La Cala del Moral / e. cabezas

Axarquía beach users: "It's good that they turned off the showers, if there is a drought we all have to save water"

The decision by Vélez-Málaga and Rincón de la Victoria town halls to leave only the footbaths operational has public support, except for in Algarrobo where they have complained about the total turn-off

Eugenio Cabezas
EUGENIO CABEZAS

The persistent drought continues to hit the Axarquia in the middle of summer, with the reservoir of La Viñuela already below 13 per cent of its capacity, and only 20.9 cubic hectometres stored, which means that, if there is not abundant rainfall in autumn, there could be severe restrictions to supply later on in the year.

As such, local administrations have begun to take restrictive measures on the population and the councils of Vélez-Málaga and Rincón de la Victoria began this Monday to cut the supply in the showers on the beaches, which total around 160 structures between the two coasts, with 30 kilometres. In both municipalities, only the footbaths will be left in operation.

Meanwhile, in Algarrobo, with just 1.5 kilometres of beach, they have gone a step further and from Monday supplies to the dozen showers and footbaths have been completely cut off. SUR visited several sites in these three towns to find out the opinions of beach goers. The mayors themselves acknowledged that the move would be "unpopular, but tremendously necessary in these times of severe drought".

Widespread support

It seems that most agreed with the decision although some were less convinced. José Pastor, 43, and his wife, Ana, residents of Palma de Mallorca, who are spending a few days' holiday in Algarrobo, said "It seems right to me because when there is a lack of water, we all have to contribute together.” In his opinion, "We have to reduce water consumption that is not strictly necessary in order to have water for basic things, the same thing happens in Palma, they are right to act in this way".

However, Pilar López,48, from Madrid, does not feel the same way. "I don't think it's right, it's necessary, at least, to be able to get rid of the sand, but if that's what they've decided we'll have to put up with it, but it's a nuisance, after a few hours the salt on your body for a few hours is itchy," she said.

Meanwhile, in La Cala del Moral, Fernando Delgado, a 67 year old pensioner, is happy that the showers have been turned off and believes that it is enough to get the sand off his feet. Francisco Macías, 63 years old and self-employed, from Jaén, is also of the same opinion. "In the area of Linares, where I come from, there are already many problems with the drought," said the holidaymaker.

Ana María Tirado and Nicolás Peña, a married couple from Tocón de Íllora, in Granada, aged 55 and 62 respectively, also agreed with the measure to save water. "Salt is good for the skin," they pointed out.

Torrox and Nerja keep showers working

The same applies to the more than a hundred showers in Vélez-Málaga. Antonio Bandera, a 68 year old from El Burgo, was happy with the decision. "Water has to be looked after, we don't look after things, it is needed for more useful things, such as irrigation," he said.

The other two Axarquia municipalities, Torrox, with nine kilometres, and Nerja, with another 14, have not supported the measure for the moment. In the case of Torrox, the mayor, Óscar Medina, pointed out that they do not want to "harm tourism".

He added that he has requested a report on how much water the showers use and pointed out that the town largely takes its water from the river and not the reservoir, although the town hall does buy in some water from La Viñuela in summer.