Friday, 14 April 2023, 09:00
As the weather forecasts continue to show no sign of rain, the Junta de Andalucía has decided to reduce the volume of water transferred from the Chillar river in Nerja to La Viñuela reservoir due to the former already showing "signs of depletion".
The lack of rain in the Sierra Almijara mountains means that the river, which also supplies Nerja’s 21,450 inhabitants and irrigates most of its countryside, with more than 300 hectares of crops, is also running low.
The vice president of Axaragua, the company that manages water supply in the Axarquía, Gregorio Campos, told Cadena Ser radio on Thursday 6 April that "due to technical problems and supply" the river has gone from transferring between 80 and 100 litres in December 2022 to 50 litres per second. This means a drop from 3.2 hectometres to just 1.57 per year.
Water consumption in the Axarquía is guaranteed thanks to the contributions that are arriving from reservoirs in Malaga city, with an average flow of 300 litres per second, which means around nine hectometres per year.
When the Nerja transfer began, the general director of water infrastructures, Álvaro Real, announced that they were going to sign an agreement with the University of Malaga to monitor the river, guaranteeing its "sustainable management". The environmental authorisation allows the extraction of a maximum of 5.2 hectometres per year, "We will monitor it and they will give us information on the state it is in", he said.
According to the Junta's calculations, if there is no rain between now and June, there is just eight cubic hectometres of usable water in La Viñuela reservoir. If it drops below nine per cent capacity the water would be unfit for consumption, "given the abundant presence of organic matter and silt", according to Campos.
Campos has once again appealed to the public for “awareness to save water as much as possible", while stressing the importance of showing “support” to farmers in the Axarquía, who since 1 October have not received water from the reservoir, and have had to use regenerated water from the area’s waste water treatment plants and from their own wells for avocado and mango plantations.
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