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La Viñuela reservoir in the Axarquía is at 7.6 per cent capacity. E. Cabezas
Axarquía mayors demand that regional government makes repairs to leaking pipes
Drought crisis

Axarquía mayors demand that regional government makes repairs to leaking pipes

Elsewhere in the province, the Guadalhorce system, made up of the three reservoirs which supply Malaga city, is on the verge of entering an emergency situation due to the lack of rain

Eugenio Cabezas

Axarquía

Tuesday, 7 November 2023

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Following the drastic reduction in the flow from la Viñuela reservoir to the El Trapiche water treatment plant in Vélez-Málaga in the Axarquía, to just 50 litres per second, the mayors of Vélez along with the villages of Benamargosa, El Borge and Almáchar have complained to Andalucía’s regional government that the flow coming out of the water treatment plant is in fact just 35 litres per second due to leaks in the pipeline.

The mayors are calling on the Junta de Andalucía, as the competent water authority in the province, to repair the leaks in the main pipeline that connects the reservoir to the El Trapiche plant.

"We were told that the flow was reduced to 50 litres per second, but we know from Axaragua [the public water board] that only 35 are arriving," the mayor of Almáchar, Antonio Yuste, who has asked the regional administration to improve these pipelines, told this newspaper. "They ask the town halls to control the leaks and we are forced to make cuts of up to twelve hours, but they are not able to guarantee those 50 litres per second," he added.

The 1,840 residents of the small village have recently experienced cuts starting at 5pm, although at the moment it is switched off at midnight and switched on again at 7am. "We hope to be able to keep it like this, although we need it to rain as soon as possible," said Yuste, who highlighted that the weather forecast does not look promising over the coming weeks.

No rain forecast

Axaragua has once again appealed to the towns and villages it serves to reduce losses in the supply networks, which can be as high as 40 per cent, according to Jorge Martín, president of the Mancomunidad de la Axarquía; the association of town halls on the eastern side of Malaga province. This newspaper has tried, without success so far, to get a reaction from the Junta de Andalucía following the mayors’ complaints.

The situation could become more complicated in the coming weeks if the levels of the reservoirs in Malaga city continue to drop. On Tuesday 7 November the seven reservoirs were at 19.01 per cent of their capacity, with just 116.22 cubic hectometres stored, compared to 216.46 this time last year. The Guadalhorce system, made up of the Conde del Guadalhorce, Guadalhorce and Guadalteba reservoirs, which supply Malaga city, is on the verge of entering an emergency situation due to serious shortages.

These three reservoirs currently hold 75.49 hectometres, and the emergency situation will be declared by the Junta when they reach 71 hectometres and remain at that level, or lower, for one month. If it continues not to rain, at the current rate of decline, there are only three weeks to go. If this scenario were to occur, the Junta would be forced to look at further restrictions. Last October a 20 per cent reduction in consumption was agreed for the Axarquía towns and villages.

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