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Unicaja basketball fans on their way to the match in the rain yesterday . Marilú Báez
Malaga needs a whole month of rain to alleviate current drought crisis

Malaga needs a whole month of rain to alleviate current drought crisis

The downpours have so far hardly benefited the province's reservoirs with most of the rain falling nearer the coast

Ignacio Lillo

Malaga

Tuesday, 23 May 2023, 10:46

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Malaga province will need at least a month more of rainfall to alleviate its current drought crisis.

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

The heaviest rains that have fallen since last Thursday have also been on the coast, away from the main reservoirs.

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. He used the official rain gauge at Malaga Airport as a reference, and so far in 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, 258mm is missing, almost double what has been collected, according to Aemet calculations.

On an average of 10mm per day, which is what is being collected, Malaga would need almost a month at the same rate as last week to equal the average for what is considered a normal year of rainfall.

Another water gauge, at the Verde river, which runs into the La Concepción reservoir on the Costa del Sol, currently accumulates 100mm less than the previous year. At an average of 10mm in just ten days it could reach last year's rainfall levels, which would allow it to face the summer in a stronger condition.

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 hectomentres. Since October, 163mm has been collected, compared to 501mm last year. Therefore, it would need to rain for more than a month to reach that figure. It is the same situation in the Guadalhorce and Conde de Guadalhorce reservoirs.

Downpours on Monday, 22 May will still benefit all the aquifers that supply important towns and villages. Colmenar collected more than 43mm; El Torcal de Antequera (28mm), Los Reales (Sierra Bermeja) with more than 20mm; the Guadalteba reservoir (19mm); Cortes de la Frontera (15mm); the river Genal, in Jubrique (14mm) and the Atabal treatment plant, in Malaga city (12mm).

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

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