Although the rain in December did something to alleviate the critical situation of the Axarquía’s La Viñuela reservoir, which had previously reached a record low at 9.1% of its capacity, the situation remains precarious. Following the wet spell that figure went up to just 11.2 per cent.
For this reason, the Junta de Andalucía is continuing with emergency works to generate new water resources especially for the Axarquía’s farmers, who saw their supply from La Viñuela gradually reduced until it was cut off completely on 1 October 2022.
Work has begun this month to install a ten-kilometre pipeline to connect the Peñon del Cuervo waste water plant in Malaga with the one in Rincón de la Victoria, which will bring additional resources to the drought-stricken Axarquía.
The works will cost 26.96 million euros and are scheduled to take seven months to complete, according to the regional delegate for agriculture, Fernando Fernández. The project has been divided into six sections to speed up its execution. The first is the installation of a system to recycle the water to make it fit for agricultural use at the Peñon del Cuervo plant, which is being coordinated between the Junta and Malaga city hall.
The other five parts of the project relate to the ten-kilometre pipeline that will be built in the La Araña area and continue through La Cala del Moral and Rincón de la Victoria, reaching the latter’s waste water treatment plant. The pipeline will bring 9.1 cubic hectometres of regenerated water per year for irrigation in the Axarquía. Added to this, the Rincón treatment plant will provide a further 3.29 hectometres. The Junta's estimates are that both resources should be ready by summer 2023.
Speaking last Friday, Fernández acknowledged that the situation remains "very complicated", but said that the domestic supply "is guaranteed" thanks to the transfer of water from the River Chíllar in Nerja. This supply has been underway since November 2022 and can provide about three cubic hectometres per year.
With regard to the use of regenerated water from the Algarrobo treatment plant, which has been pending for more than a decade, Fernández explained that the repair work on the plant is expected to be completed by the end of January.
It should have been finished last November but has experienced a number of setbacks. The cost of the work is almost 800,000 euros and will provide one cubic hectometre for the irrigation of almost 800 hectares of land.
The work to extend the treatment capacity of the El Atabal desalination plant in Malaga city is complete, following an investment of 3.15 million euros. This will increase the plant's treatment capacity by 10 per cent to 2,640 litres per second, enabling a greater volume of water to be transferred to the Axarquia region as well as supplying the city.