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View of Vélez-Málaga and Torre del Mar from the 10th century fortress. E. Cabezas
Costa del Sol town loses out on 9.2 million euros in funding for improvements to water supply
Water infrastructure

Costa del Sol town loses out on 9.2 million euros in funding for improvements to water supply

Spain’s central government has rejected the application submitted by Vélez-Málaga town hall sent in February 2023 as it did not rectify errors in the original documentation

Eugenio Cabezas

Vélez-Málaga

Wednesday, 8 May 2024, 13:19

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Despite the abundant rainfall in March in Malaga province, the nighttime water restrictions remain in place in Vélez-Málaga on the eastern stretch of the Costa del Sol, along with other towns and villages in the Axarquía. Farmers still do not have access to water from La Viñuela reservoir for irrigation, which has been the case since 1 January 2022.

In this context of drought and with no rain forecast for the foreseeable future, Vélez-Málaga town hall has received a new setback from Spain’s central government in their request for European Next Generation funds to improve water supply networks.

This is the second blow to the town hall within a week as a few days ago the local authority learned that it had lost out on a further three million euros to carry out work on its 10th century fortress, having missed a deadline to submit all the documents.

Now the town hall has lost its request for 9.2 million for water infrastructure, which was also presented in the last months of the last legislature, by the previous bipartite team of the socialist PSOE party and the independent Torre del Mar GIPMTM party.

According to the resolution of the central ministry for ecological transition, the reason for this rejection is because Vélez-Málaga town hall "did not present the documentation required” The official document, which is signed by the secretary of state for the environment, Hugo Morán, and dated 15 November 2023, did not include a number of documents required to go with the application.

No answer from town hall

SUR has tried without success to get an answer from the current bipartite team, made up of the centre-right Partido Popular (PP) and GIPMTM, on this matter and to know the reasons why this documentation was not presented in time.

The project, presented jointly with 22 Valencian municipalities, envisaged allocating 2,431,858.24 euros for the renovation and implementation of new underground water catchments in the Almayate area, 6,352,558.24 euros for the renovation of the water transport and circulation infrastructure and 449,977.14 euros for the digitalisation of the sewage networks.

The previous town hall team proposed improvements to 15 kilometres of the supply networks, mainly in the old town, the western area and Torre del Mar. The project had a total budget for the 23 municipalities of 11,173,616.28 euros, of which 90 per cent would have been provided by the European Next Generation funds and the remaining 10 per cent (2,862,837.94 euros) would have to come from the municipal coffers.

The application was submitted jointly with the Valencian water management company Ciclagua S.A., in order to be eligible for a larger amount of the subsidy. If Vélez had applied alone it would have only been eligible for 60 per cent of the total budget.

Furthermore, according to the documentation to which SUR has had access, the plan was to replace three kilometres of asbestos cement network on the western edge of the town, in the section from the El Toro reservoir to Bajamar, another 7.25 kilometres from the latter area to the border with Rincón de la Victoria, another two kilometres from the Molino de las Monjas catchments to the town centre of Vélez-Málaga, 1.25 kilometres of asbestos cement pipes in the Almayate network and 1.5 kilometres from the Vega Mena catchments to Torre del Mar.

Other projects

The project also proposed the digitalisation of the municipal sewerage network, for the integral control of the pipes leading to a more efficient water supply system, which would reduce water losses and increase its reliability and robustness. In May 2017, the town hall estimated losses of 24% in the supply network, equivalent to 1.5 hectometres per year. The catchments to be renovated are in a "highly degraded state", due to their age.

The former PSOE mayor of Vélez-Málaga Antonio Moreno Ferrer has shown his "disappointment with the manifest incapacity of a government team that only knows how to repaint kerbs, without a clear vision of the municipality and the future".

The Ministry for Ecological Transition has also rejected a project jointly requested by the Malaga municipalities of Alameda, Cuevas Bajas, Fuente de Piedra, Humilladero, Sierra de Yeguas, Mollina and Villanueva de Tapia, called 'Project+Life. More intelligent value of water'.

The reasons are that they did not present "the corrected documentation required ". And an application from Sayalonga town hall in the Axarquía for the installation of smart water meters was also rejected, again apparently for not supplying the correct documentation.

The only town in Malaga to benefit from the funding was Villanueva de Algaidas, in a project submitted jointly with Úbeda, Montefrío, Almodóvar del Campo, Villarrubia de los Ojos, Moraleja, Sierra de Fuentes and Yuncos. The project has received 351,866.95 euros of the total budget of 439,003.92 euros.

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