A view of Nerja from the El Capistrano housing development / e. cabezas

Junta orders 650 houses in Nerja to stop receiving water from a private community and connect to the municipal network

The Comunidades de Regantes y Usuarios Fuente del Badén will no longer be able to supply the properties from 1 January, when home owners will have to contract the service with Aguas de Narixa

Eugenio Cabezas

The regional government, the Junta de Andalucía, has issued a resolution obliging 650 houses in Nerja to connect to the municipal water network, Aguas de Narixa.

The measure affects the Comunidades de Regantes y Usuarios Fuente del Badén (Fuente del Badén community of irrigators and users), which from 1 January must cease its water supply to the properties, in order to comply with the resolution of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development which has imposed on the Community "the obligation to cease the supply of water for the supply of housing.”

The Fuente del Badén community has communicated to Nerja town hall and its members the cessation of supply from 31 December, telling those affected that they "should contact Aguas de Narixa to formalise the connection to the municipal water service."

According to a statement from the town hall, the service provided by Aguas de Narixa "has the means and infrastructure necessary to provide homeowners with the standard of quality, pressure and flow achieved in the rest of the town." It goes on to say, "The new connections will be carried out in accordance with the requirements established in the Andalusian home water supply regulations and in the ordinance for the provision of water supply and sanitation services in Nerja.”

The Fuente del Badén community pointed out that they have been supplying water "to no fewer than 4,000 homes in Nerja" since 1979". It went on to say, "This service, provided without any profit motive, has contributed decisively in the last 40 years to the development of our town in terms of tourism and population growth and residents and the town hall alike have benefited from the growth of the various housing developments around the town centre that could not be served by the municipal supply network."

The community went on to say that "some of those in charge of the municipal water company, moved exclusively by economic interests, considered that the presence of a better quality and cheaper water supply than the one they were offering was competition for them, which is why for years they undertook a campaign of harassment and complaints.”

This open conflict between the town hall and this community of irrigators and users is not new; it dates back to 2016 when the council began to get homes that were supplied through this private community to connect to Aguas Narixa.

As a result, they maintain that this “campaign” led to the resolution to cease activity issued on 9 November. "However, this order has not come as a surprise to this Community, which in March 2021 had already requested and held a meeting with the town hall to coordinate a timetable for the progressive withdrawal of the water supply provided by the community, enabling the execution of the works that would allow its replacement by the municipal water service," the private entity continued.

Absence of a reply

Subsequently in June 2021, "in the absence of a reply" they again sent a letter to the council, accompanied by an offer to provide the service of irrigation of gardens and public areas with non-drinking water, as the drought decree for the Axarquia approved in June prohibits the use of drinking water for irrigation of gardens and other uses. The decree also obliges the council to activate a savings plan to reduce urban water supply by 10 per cent.

As such, from 31 December 2021 this community "will once again use the water it owns exclusively for irrigation, reiterating its offer to continue contributing to the development of Nerja by taking advantage of this community's network to facilitate the maintenance of gardens and public areas with non-drinkable water, not only to comply with the drought decree of 15 June 2021, but above all to ensure that Nerja continues to be a benchmark in sustainable tourism," they said.