La Viñuela reservoir is at just 15.2 per cent capacity / e. cabezas

Regional government allocates 38.3 million euros for Axarquía drought emergency works

Part of the money will go towards the Churriana bypass; the first section of the future 'highway' which will divert water from other reservoirs in the province to La Viñuela

Eugenio Cabezas

The Junta de Andalucía is allocating 38.3 million euros to deal with the extreme drought that the Axarquia is experiencing as the summer gets under way. The La Viñuela reservoir is currently in a critical situation, at just 15.2 per cent of its capacity, with 25.1 cubic hectometres stored, half of what it was a year ago.

Part of the money will go towards the Churriana bypass; the first section of the future 'highway' which will divert water from other reservoirs in the province to La Viñuela. That project alone will see an investment of 1.4 million and work is already happening.

The project has doubled the water transport capacity from the western Costa del Sol to the Axarquia and has guaranteed the supply to more than 158,000 residents of Churriana and Cortijo de la Maza-El Olivar, as well as indirectly improving the supply to Benalmádena, Torremolinos, Almáchar, Benamocarra, Moclinejo and Totalán, according to information released by the regional government last Friday (17 June).

Recycled water for irrigation

Work has also been carried out to renew the reservoir basins of the Viñuela-Axarquía system, with an investment of 566,000 euros. This was the first project to get under way when the drought was first officially declared in June 2021, "which allows maximum use to be made of rainwater and water transfers, thus helping to avoid losses of water resources for an area in a drought situation," the Junta said in a statement.

Emergency work is also being carried out to extend and improve the tertiary treatment of five waste water treatment plants in Vélez-Málaga, Torrox, Rincón de la Victoria and Algarrobo, which will provide more water for irrigation in the area. The first four are scheduled for completion in July, and the Algarrobo plant "will be finished this year" according to the Junta. These works total 3.76 million eurosand will generate nine cubic hectometres of reclaimed water for irrigation.

Meanwhile, work is underway to improve the La Rosaleda pumping station, which connects the city of Malaga with the Axarquía, with an investment of 600,000 euros. The project will benefit the city and the 31 towns and villages in the Axarquía, as it will double the amount of water flow from 200 to 400 litres per second to the El Trapiche drinking water treatment plant in Velez-Malaga.

Río Chillar

The work to provide water for human consumption from the wells of the Río Chíllar in Nerja have seen an investment of 2.94 million euros. The regional government has set July as the new deadline for the wells to come into operation.

Finally, the increase in the capacity of the desalination plant at El Atabal, in Malaga city has a cost of 3.04 million euros and will be completed "this year" the Junta has said.

The Peñón del Cuervo wastewater treatment plant and the pipes to connect it to the Rincón de la Victoria plant have an estimated cost of 19 million euros. Finally, the connection of the tertiary treatment of the Rincon de la Victoria station with the geographical area of the Guaro Plan for the use of reclaimed water for irrigation will entail an investment of seven million euros.

According to the data provided by the Junta, the works at the Peñón del Cuervo treatment plant will generate 10 cubic hectometres of reclaimed water for irrigation. Therefore, the volume of recycled water that the Axarquia will have thanks to the actions of the drought decrees amounts to 19 cubic hectometres.