The La Viñuela reservoir / ÑITO SALAS

Malaga province is preparing for drought with high water consumption penalties for some

Many municipalities are working on preventive measures to avoid cuts to the water supply network during the summer and will cut down on street cleaning and plant irrigation

ANDREA JIMÉNEZ

In the driest year in Malaga since records began, the province is preparing to combat drought conditions with penalties for high consumption in several municipalities along with preventive measures such as restrictions on street cleaning and irrigation.

Although the lack of rain is especially noticeable inland and in the Axarquia, all towns and villages are already working on neighbourhood awareness campaigns and actions to avoid possible cuts to the supply network during summer.

For now, the only municipality in Malaga with more than 20,000 inhabitants that has announced penalties for high consumption is Alhaurín de la Torre. On 11 February, Mayor Joaquín Villanova announced a 58 cents increase to the fixed fee, "the only increase that 8 out of 10 families will experience," he said.

Alhaurín's problem lies in its dependence on the Sierra de Mijas aquifer from which other towns on the Costa del Sol or in the Guadalhorce region are also supplied, the mayor added.

High consumption penalty

Another municipality that has already confirmed that it will change the water supply rules to penalise high consumption is Fuente de Piedra, which will raise the rate by 25 per cent for inhabitants who consume more than 75 cubic metres per quarter. "Ninety per cent of families in the town will not be affected by this rise,” said the mayor, Siro Pachón.

Antequera, Humilladero, Mollina and Alameda are also considering increases. Municipalities such as Villanueva del Trabuco or Villanueva del Rosario, which traditionally suffer from water cuts during the summer, fear that this problem will be brought forward to May or June if the spring does not bring rain. The situation is similar in towns such as Archidona or Campillos.

In the Guadalhorce Valley, Cártama is studying water-saving measures. In Coín, where the rate has already been raised, no further increases are expected.

In Ronda, the company that manages the water supply, Aqualia, warns that there may be shortages during summer if there is not enough rain during spring.

On the Costa del Sol, Marbella town hall is waiting "for the possibility that the drought decree is established by the Junta de Andalucía.” The situation is similar in Estepona, where they also referred to the possible drought decree by the Junta.