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Costa del Sol towns to discuss joint measures to tackle extreme drought situation
Drought crisis

Costa del Sol towns to discuss joint measures to tackle extreme drought situation

The Junta de Andalucía regional government has raised the water-saving requirements for local town halls from 10 to 20 per cent



Friday, 13 October 2023, 17:00

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As the drought situation continues throughout Andalucía, the regional authorities have taken further steps to reduce water use and save the supply.

At a meeting of the Junta de Andalucía's water management committee at the end of last week it was decided that water-saving demands on local authorities would be stepped up in certain areas.

In the case of Malaga province, the towns and villages in the Guadalhorce valley, Malaga city and on the western Costa del Sol will have to reduce their water use by 20 per cent instead of the 10 per cent in force until now.

This brings the rest of the province in line with the Axarquía district east of Malaga, where towns have been obliged to reduce their demand for mains drinking water by 20 per cent since July.

The change in La Viñuela's levels in 11 years. Salvador Salas

The regional government has left it up to the individual town halls to decide how to reduce its use of the water supply and what restrictions to impose. In the Axarquía some town halls, such as Vélez-Málaga, brought in nighttime water cuts, while others cut the supply to beach showers and restricted filling swimming pools, watering gardens and washing cars.

Western Costa del Sol

The drought level on the western Costa del Sol was raised at the Junta's meeting last Friday from "severe" to "exceptional".

This week town halls on the western Costa del Sol decided to bring in one single set of rules that would apply to all eleven municipalities that form part of the Mancomunidad authority in that area.

Their aim, said the president of the Mancomunidad, Manuel Cardeña, was "for us all to implement the same initiatives, reducing use in irrigation and washing down [roads] and making maximum use of regenerated water".

Similarly, the 14 towns and villages on the eastern Costa del Sol that are supplied through the public water company, Axaragua, are set to meet next week to discuss a joint approach to saving water as the drought crisis worsens in the area.

Historic low

Water is being transferred from Malaga city to the Axarquía at a rate of up to 320 litres per second, as well as from the Chíllar river in Nerja at a rate of around 80 litres per second. These resources accounted for 56.25 per cent of the water demand in the 14 towns and villages, while 43.75 per cent was covered by La Viñuela reservoir in the year October 2022 to September 2023.

For more than a year farmers in the Axarquía have been unable to irrigate with water from La Viñuela and have been supplied by regenerated water from treatment plants in the area. A new plant, soon to be in operation in El Peñón del Cuervo on the east side of Malaga city, will contribute to this limited supply.

Work to extend the desalination plant in Marbella, which is helping reduce the effects of the drought on the western Costa, began in July, the regional authority stated last week, as part of a list of infrastructure works under way in the region. Likewise, the Mancomunidad for the western Costa said that the water treatment plant at Río Verde in Marbella was currently being modernised to increase its capacity.

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