Wednesday, 30 August 2023
In a visit to Almáchar in Malaga province on Tuesday the Junta de Andalucía's provincial delegate for Agriculture, Fernando Fernández Tapia-Ruano, said that the water shortage situation is already worse than the devastating drought of 1995.
He warned "we are facing the worst drought of the century and that with this lack of water and we are surpassing the negative parameters of the great drought of 1995" during a meeting with the Mayor of Almáchar, Antonio Yuste, during the 53rd edition of the village’s Ajoblanco Festival.
Fernández Tapia-Ruano said that the very last of the water for irrigation from the Guadalhorce reserves was being meted out for farmers for this hydrological year, which ends on 30 September. Guadalhorce farmers usually receive 40 hectometres a year for irrigation, but this year they have only received some 25 hectometres of water.
Fernández Tapia-Ruano added that the Junta calculates that this drought will have an impact of 1% on the gross domestic product of Andalucía and "this could mean the loss of more than 100,000 jobs".
The Junta has issued three drought decrees. One in June 2021, another in March 2022 and the last in April 2023. "The three decrees amount to 300 million euros of aid, of which almost 80% have been invested in Malaga, mostly for the La Viñuela area," Fernández Tapia-Ruano said. The Junta politician explained that this money has been used to carry out emergency works to find additional resources to the conventional ones. "I am confident that we will soon have news on the development of the construction of the desalination plant," he added.
The Axarquía is currently receiving water transfers of 300 litres per second from the Conde del Guadalhorce and Guadalteba reservoirs, passing through the Atabal for desalination and the Rosaleda pumping station. "In this region we have implemented various actions such as the investment of three million euros in the wells of the Chíllar river for water supply and the increased capacity of the Rosaleda pumping station with more than 800,000 euros of investment," the provincial delegate said.
Fernández Tapia-Ruano also gave a grim forecast for the region’s food producers with the avocado and mango harvest being “reduced by 85%, the olive harvest by 30%, [and] the almond harvest by 50%”.
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