The umbrellas have been out in Malaga city and along the coastal strip this week. Marilú Báez
Localised heavy rains fail to alleviate Malaga's drought crisis

Localised heavy rains fail to alleviate Malaga's drought crisis

More storms and downpours are forecast this weekend, as voters will be heading to the polls in the local elections on Sunday

Ignacio Lillo


Friday, 26 May 2023, 11:22


Malaga province will need at least a month more of rainfall, the result of a 'Dana' isolated depression at high altitude, to alleviate its current drought crisis.

While recent downpours have been important to maintain the reservoir levels, they have not been enough to make up for the serious water deficit accumulated over the past year.

Generally, however, the heaviest rains that have fallen since last week have been on the coast, downstream and away from the main reservoirs in the province.

SUR questioned the director of the Aemet Meteorological Centre, Jesús Riesco, about how much more rainfall the province needed in order to reduce the drought concerns. Riesco used the official rain gauge at Malaga Airport as a reference, and said that so far, during the current May wet spell, a total of 48mm has been collected. In the past year 255mm had fallen up to 30 April. Given that the historical average in the past year is 561.5mm, some 258mm is missing, almost double what has been collected, according to Aemet calculations.

Month of rain needed

Based on an average of 10mm per day, which is what is being collected, Malaga would need almost a month of rain at the same rate as last week to equal the average for what is considered a normal year. The three reservoirs of the Guadalhorce system supply Malaga city and, at the moment, also Axarquia. The Guadalteba reservoir has the most water, with more than 72 cubic hectometres. Since October, 163mm has been collected, compared to 501mm last year. Therefore, it would need it to rain for more than a month to reach that figure. It is the same situation in the Guadalhorce and Conde de Guadalhorce reservoirs.

José Luis Escudero, head of the Storms and Lightning weather blog on, warned that most of the rain is falling on the coast and just inland, where it is not benefiting the reservoirs. "If it doesn't come further inland, it won't do anything, we could do with having a static storm in the Axarquía or Guadalhorce areas," he said.

Local election storms

This weekend, when local elections will be held, it is forecast to be wet in large areas of the province. On Saturday rain will be quite likely, while on Sunday, which is when the voting will take place, there are still some doubts about the amounts and distribution, although the weather will generally be unstable. Weather models suggest that next week and the week after (5-11 June), will both be cooler and wetter than usual. "Do not put your coat away until 40th May," said the director of Aemet, referring to a traditional Spanish saying.

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