Following the emergency plan activated by the Andalusian regional government for the Axarquía, which will provide an additional nine cubic hectometres (Hm3) per year from the treatment plants in Vélez-Málaga, Rincón de la Victoria and the two in Torrox, the Junta de Andalucía is now planning to divert water from Malaga as well.
The plan is to send more water to the Axarquía and reduce the pressure on La Viñuela reservoir, which as the largest in the province is at 16.3 per cent capacity with just 26.8 Hm3 of the 167.3 Hm3 it is capable of storing.
Through the Junta's drought plan, which provides for a regional investment of 125 million euros in hydraulic infrastructures to deal with water shortages throughout the region, Malaga city’s water company (Emasa) has just signed a contract for an initial study to improve the tertiary system in the Peñón del Cuervo treatment plant, which when it is up and running will allow 10 Hm3 of recycled water to be generated annually for irrigation in the Axarquia region.
The technical study, awarded to the engineering company Eptisa with a budget of 22,100 euros and a completion period of two months, should lay the foundations to allow water from the Peñón del Cuervo station to connect with that of Rincón de la Victoria.
There are also plans to improve the situation on the western Costa del Sol, including increasing the capacity of the Marbella desalination plant to produce up to 10 Hm3/year and the implementation of improvements to the Río Verde drinking water treatment plant.
In the Guadalhorce Valley, the Regional Ministry of Agriculture and Sustainable Development also plans access underground water and improve the water pipelines to ensure that resources can reach areas with supply problems.
These works will be in addition to those that have already started to transfer water to the Axarquia, which is the region with the greatest water deficit. In addition there are also plans to connect the El Atabal treatment plant in Malaga city with the Axarquía and to access water from three wells in the river Chíllar in Nerja.
Malaga city has also been working for some time on a series of measures to prepare for a continuing drought situation. The most important of these is the preparation of existing wells in the Bajo Guadalhorce, such as those of Aljaima and Fahala, which were ready for use but were not used during the previous threat of drought in 2018. It is estimated that they could provide between five and 10 Hm3 per year.