File image of the Aljaima reservoir in Cártama. SUR
Lack of rainfall forces Malaga to resurrect emergency water sources from 1995 drought
Drought crisis

Lack of rainfall forces Malaga to resurrect emergency water sources from 1995 drought

New works are under way in the lower Guadalhorce to clean four wells and reduce the province's dependence on reservoirs that have low water reserves

Chus Heredia


Friday, 10 November 2023, 12:19


Malaga city council has been forced to tap into emergency water supplies from the 1995 drought as the province continues to suffer from a lack of rainfall.

The Emasa water company will activate the old wells of the lower Guadalhorce valley, which were activated during the great drought of 1995, brought back into use in 2005, and then ruined by a storm in 2012.

But it is a necessary move as reservoirs continue to dwindle across Andalucía, where most of the reservoirs are marked with either amber or red flags, meaning serious shortages of water supply - the most severe being in the Axarquia and the western Costa del Sol areas.

Malaga town hall has awarded Aquatec a contract for 65,000 euros to clean and refurbish four more wells to supply water to the province. The whole system of emergency wells in the lower Guadalhorce could provide between six and 12 cubic hectometres a year, the equivalent of one and a half or two months of urban consumption.

Four more wells

These valuable sources of water in Cártama were first used in the 1990s, in response to a pressing need for water. But they were damaged in 2012 due to floods and erosion of the Guadalhorce riverbed. They are currently waterlogged with soil and debris.

"At the present time, with the need to use them in view of the drought we are suffering, it is necessary to clean them before putting them into service. Already in February wells 3, 4, 8 and 14 were put into service," Emasa said. Now, wells 2, 12, 13 and 15 will be cleaned.

Status of the reservoirs

Latest data on water levels in the province's reservoirs reveal that the reserves are at 19%, with 115.97 cubic hectometres stored. The reservoirs that supply Malaga city store 85 cubic hectometres. This volume does not include Casasola (6.5 hectometres) and Limonero (5.2), which are for flood prevention and hardly supply any water.

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