Work in Marbella on the existing mains pipeline. Josele
Key water supply improvements move a small step closer

Key water supply improvements move a small step closer

The contracts have been awarded to design plans to replace the mains pipe along the western Costa del Sol and to boost supply to the north of Malaga province

Francisco Jiménez / SUR


Friday, 12 May 2023

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Two major pieces of construction needed to improve the supply of freshwater in Malaga province have moved a step closer.

The Junta de Andalucía has awarded the contracts to firms that will design the plans for a new "water highway" pipe along the length of the western Costa del Sol. In addition, the contract for the plans for 142km of pipe from a large reservoir in Cordoba province into towns and villages in north Malaga province has been given the go ahead.

Although these are only contracts for the design stage, they are still important steps towards boosting long-term mains water to most of the 1.7 million people who live in Malaga province, as well as visitors and industry.

The cost of finally building both was once set at 200 million euros but this figures is expected to have risen by now.

Water highway

The scheme that has been dubbed the water highway would involve some 100km of pipe that would move water up and down the Costa del Sol from Manilva to Torremolinos.

The project aims to replace the current troublesome pipeline that runs along the western coast, which is over fifty years old. This would improve the ability to transfer water from Malaga city and the Axarquía, in the east, through to the Campo de Gibraltar in the west, depending on where the need was greatest.

An improvement of the entire mains network that supplies the western coast has been pending for years, but the current pipeline is in such a poor state that it has reached the point where it is no longer able to cope.

Built in 1972, a good part of these 100km of pipe are out of service, so the supply depends almost entirely on a secondary, parallel pipe that was added in the 1980s to extend coverage. This also now experiences its own problems.

The new project will be divided into two parts: the west; which starts at the Río Verde water treatment plant in Marbella and would be 39.6km long, supplying water to Marbella, Estepona, Casares and Manilva; and the east, 57km long, which would serve the eastern part of Marbella and the municipalities of Mijas, Fuengirola, Benalmádena and Torremolinos.

The design of the first part will be drafted by a consortium of Irtene and Narval Ingeniería with the second by the Abastecimiento Ramal Este de Málaga consortium.

The Junta de Andalucía regional government will carry out the eventual building work but it has not yet been decided which part of government could finance the works, which will cost more than 150 million euros.

Link into the inland north

Pen has also been put to paper to officially start designing the other much-needed pipeline route. This would be a network of 142km from the huge Iznájar reservoir in Cordoba province to the dozen municipalities in Antequera and surrounding districts that historically suffer from domestic water supply problems. There will be a primary pipeline from the Iznájar water treatment plant to Antequera with branches out to the different towns and villages.

The Junta de Andalucía has had to keep the volume of water to be transferred from here within limits to avoid any delays having the whole plan approved by central government.

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