La Viñuela reservoir is at only 21 per cent of its capacity. / E. CABEZAS

Water cuts for Axarquía fruit growers amid severe shortages

The regional government announced a 33 per cent reduction in supply for farmers in the area with immediate effect during a meeting last week

EUGENIO CABEZAS MALAGA.

The regional government has cut water from La Viñuela reservoir for crop irrigation in the Axarquía by 33 per cent.

With the reservoir in an emergency situation, at just 35 cubic hectometres, or 21 per cent of its total capacity of 165, the Junta de Andalucía took the decision last week to guarantee water for human consumption and irrigation in the Axarquía in the coming months in a scenario of low rainfall and severe drought.

The announcement was made to growers in the area after the meeting and was put into immediate effect, affecting a total of 6,299 hectares of crops; mainly mangoes and avocados. Allocations have been reduced from 3,000 to 2,000 cubic metres per hectare.

This is the first time in more than three decades that the figure has been reduced, as in recent years it had been maintained at a minimum of 3,000.

With regard to the water supply, which goes to 14 municipalities in the Axarquía and some 200,000 people, the reservoir's capacity has been reduced from 13.9 hectometres to 10.

However, there will be an additional two hectometres from the Guadalhorce-Limonero reservoir system and it is expected that between three and four cubic hectometres more will be available with the connection to the network of the wells on the River Chíllar, which are awaiting electrical connection. There are also plans to use water from the area's wastewater plants.