The central government's Andalucia delegate during his visit to Velez-Malaga on Tuesday. / E. CABEZAS

Government 'open' to the idea of an Axarquía desalination plant

The central government's Andalucia delegate, Pedro Fernández, lamented that no progress was made in the seven years under Rajoy

EUGENIO CABEZAS MALAGA.

The representative of central government for Andalucía, Pedro Fernández, expressed his "openness" on Tuesday, during a visit to Vélez-Málaga, to the possibility of building a desalination plant in the Axarquía as a solution to the persistent drought that is threatening the subtropical fruit sector.

With the Axarquía's La Viñuela reservoir at just 15.2 per cent of its capacity, with 25.1 cubic hectometres stored, the Junta de Andalucía has asked central government to prioritise the project which will guarantee water for irrigation and human consumption in the coming years.

"Very powerful desalination plants have been reactivated in Almeria," Fernández said. "We will have to analyse it. The Junta de Andalucía's proposal will be looked in to, but I hope and trust that it will contain serious and rigorous content," he added.

He went on to say that given the threat of drought, desalination "is the future, it is a complement for agriculture and human consumption".

The general coordinator of the Partido Popular (PP) in Malaga, José Ramón Carmona, said on Wednesday that "if the PSOE had done something about water over the last decade in Malaga and Andalucía, today we would not be in serious danger".

Waiting for rain

He stressed that "there are no more excuses for bad management, it is time to authorise actions without further delay". He urged Pedro Sánchez's Socialist government to "do it now".

"We saw for years how the PSOE in the Junta crossed their arms and waited for the rain to fall; they have not developed adequate hydrological planning and now we have to suffer the consequences," Carmona went on to say.

Mayor of Vélez, Antonio Moreno Ferrer (PSOE), said the meeting with Fernández had been "very positive". He went on to say that political dialogue regarding the challenges caused by the drought were "fundamental" and added, "We need urgent solutions, not pats on the back or promises that repeatedly fall on deaf ears."