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La Viñuela reservoir currently stores 31.3 cubic hectometres, twice as much as a year ago. E. Cabezas
Axarquía will be able to refill its swimming pools this summer after Junta de Andalucía gives green light
Drought crisis

Axarquía will be able to refill its swimming pools this summer after Junta de Andalucía gives green light

The 31 municipalities of the eastern part of Malaga province have also requested authorisation from the regional government to be able to use the push-button fountains and showers on beaches adapted for people with reduced mobility

Eugenio Cabezas

Axarquía

Friday, 24 May 2024, 16:08

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After the miraculous rains last Easter, Malaga province is facing the high summer season with a little more peace of mind. After extreme emergency measures such as the arrival of water tankers in the Port of Malaga have been ruled out, the Junta de Andalucá regional government, the authority responsible for water in the Andalusian Mediterranean Basin, has relaxed the restrictions on human supply and irrigation. It has raised the maximum permitted consumption of potable water from 180 to 200 litres per inhabitant per day in Malaga city, the Axarquia and the interior of the province, and to 225 on the western strip of the Costa del Sol.

In addition, irrigators in the Guadalhorce valley will have up to nine cubic hectometres at their disposal, compared to the six previously planned; while in the eastern region of Malaga, the estates of the Guaro Plan, which occupy 6,300 hectares, will have a supply of three cubic hectometres, after the supply was cut off on 1 October 2022. Not surprisingly, La Viñuela reservoir has doubled its reserves compared to a year ago, when it had just 16 cubic hectometres, compared to the 31.3 it had this Wednesday.

Therefore, in the Axarquia, as in the rest of the province, after a few months of great uncertainty for the entire population, it will be possible to fill and enjoy the swimming pools this summer. This was announced by the president of the association of municipalities of the eastern Costa del Sol-Axarquia, Jorge Martín (PP), after holding a meeting this week with the mayors and councillors responsible for water in the eastern region. This measure had already been given the green light by the Junta de Andalucía , but whose adoption in each municipality was in the hands of the local councils.

During the meeting it was also agreed to request "temporary exceptions for the municipalities of the region to the measures established by the drought management committee", and it has been reported that the allocation that the municipalities will have may increase from June to the aforementioned 200 litres per inhabitant per day. However, for the time being, night-time restrictions remain in force in some localities, including Vélez-Málaga, Rincón de la Victoria, Torrox, Algarrobo, Iznate, Almáchar and El Borge, among others.

At the meeting the situation of La Viñuela reservoir was once again analysed, which is currently at 31 cubic hectometres, which is 19 per cent of its capacity.

"The situation of exceptional drought and of serious shortage continues, but we are somewhat better than last summer. However, it is still a priority objective to ensure that the system has at least 22 cubic hectometres until the end of the hydrological year (30 September)," said the president of Axaragua, the company that provides water supply services to 14 of the 31 towns in the Axarquia region.

These municipalities will be supplied from the Viñolera dam, at a rate of between 375 and 425 litres per second, after the water transfer from Malaga city was suspended, due to the increase in reserves in the Axarquia reservoir. The transfer of water from the river Chíllar de Nerja, which began in November 2022 , will continue, with around 120 litres per second.

Floating population

Martín said in a statement that the rains that arrived "have allowed us a maximum of 200 litres per inhabitant per day for urban use, but, in addition, thanks to the work undertaken by Axaragua we have managed to get the Junta de Andalucía to consider, in addition to the floating population of each municipality, the index of urban waste, thus correcting the increase that occurs during the summer months".

Martín pointed out that at the meeting held a week ago, the General Secretariat for Water made the measures for the Mediterranean Basins more flexible, and made it possible that "for reasons of general, social or public health interest", exceptions to the rules could be requested.

"After talking to the different town councils, I have decided to take them on board so that all the towns can establish the same," the president of Axaragua said in a statement.

These include the refilling of public and private swimming pools that have a water recirculation system, in the quantities necessary to replace evaporation losses, filter cleaning and to guarantee the sanitary quality of the water. The first filling of newly built public and private swimming pools or filling in response to pool refurbishment work or modification of the pool is also authorised. Likewise, the complete or partial filling of inflatable pools with a capacity of less than 500 litres intended for children's bathing is also permitted in educational centres. The period established for these exceptional measures is from 1 June to 30 September, according to a press release.

This temporary derogation also extends to drinking fountains with automatic opening and closing valves. It has also been requested for the operation of showers in sports establishments and swimming pools where their use is obligatory, as well as on beaches specifically for people with reduced mobility. "The improvement in the situation of the Viñuela-Axarquía system, as in the rest of the Andalusian districts, has allowed the Junta de Andalucía to relax the measures, especially those that are of general, social or public health interest. However, we must continue to focus on saving water as we have been doing up to now," he said.

Thus, the president of Axaragua pointed out that since last summer, "we have shown that small gestures allow us to help alleviate the shortage of water resources with which we live". He also thanked the municipalities, the people of Axarquia, visitors and farmers "for the effort and understanding shown". He also thanked "the involvement" of Axaragua's workers.

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