The transfer of water from ships would be via the Emasa port pipeline to El Limonero. SUR
Could ships bring water to the Costa del Sol if the drought crisis continues?
Drought crisis

Could ships bring water to the Costa del Sol if the drought crisis continues?

The idea has been explored before in Malaga city, during the 1995 and 2005 droughts

Chus Heredia

Sunday, 26 November 2023, 19:32

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Whenever there is a drought, extreme emergency solutions come to the fore. Currently Catalonia in the north of Spain is talking about bringing water in ships to the region to respond to their serious drought crisis. In Cadiz, during the 1995 drought, water was brought into the port from Huelva. And in Malaga city on the Costa del Sol? It is certainly an issue that is debated on the political agenda and the feasibility of such a water transfer has been analysed by experts.

During the 2005 drought, the last one that Malaga province, including the Costa del Sol, went through, technicians from the Malaga city water supply authority, Emasa, spent several months studying options if the scarcity of water continued. One of them was the purchase of water that would be brought from other places in large vessels. In fact, this was included in the Emergency Action Plan (PAES) drawn up by the body. This would only be put into practice if less than six months supply was available locally to the city. At it turned out this did not happen, but everything was studied: from the capacity (50,000 cubic metres of untreated water per ship) to the cost of berthing, which turned out to be the most expensive part of the process. From the ships, the water would have to be transferred to El Limonero reservoir via a pipeline that Emasa has in the port.

Drought measures in 1995

During the 1995 drought, water was restricted to six hours a day in Malaga city with the flow pressure reduced by half. At that time the reservoir of La Viñuela was providing water to the city, in contrast to the current situation where the reverse is happening. It was a decision that was strongly contested by farmers and politicians in the region.

During that drought, numerous boreholes were drilled to use the water resources from the lower Guadalhorce valley. Many of these were also used in 2005 drought and are currently being 'resuscitated' by Emasa. Also previously on the table were recurrent projects such as the extraction of water from the Genal river or the regulation of the Rio Grande.

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