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La Concepción Reservoir. Josele
Many parts of the Costa del Sol will face water cuts in March if it does not rain soon
Drought crisis

Many parts of the Costa del Sol will face water cuts in March if it does not rain soon

The current level of the key La Concepción reservoir has changed little as the recent rains have not been sufficient to make an impact

María Albarral

Marbella

Friday, 12 January 2024, 09:20

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"The rain of recent days has not changed the situation of the reservoirs and, if it does not rain, we will have to have water cuts in March on the Costa del Sol," the president of the public consortium of municipalities on the western coast, Manuel Cardeña, warned on Wednesday this week.

The head of the Mancomunidad de Municipios de la Costa del Sol Occidental, which runs some shared services on behalf of various councils, pointed out that "this decision corresponds to the Junta de Andalucía which knows the water capacity of this area and the circumstances of the different reserves". Cardeña added, "just yesterday they held a meeting to address this scenario and how to deal with it where [my association] will be responsible for coordinating all the municipalities to follow the indications of the regional administration when the time comes".

Cardeña said that "all the municipalities in the organisation are complying with the guidelines to reduce consumption by 20 per cent, as the main idea is based on extending the resources as much as possible over time" and that water cuts "are minimal". "This drought is going to be overcome and we hope that the works that are being put in place, which should have been carried out 20 or 30 years ago, will ensure that we do not have to face any more problems in future droughts," Cardeña added.

The Junta has resumed work to double the transfer capacity of the Rojas pumping station, which will enable the Costa del Sol to receive up to 400 litres of water per second from Malaga because "the Campo de Gibraltar is in a complicated situation, which makes it impossible to transfer water".

"The concessions of regenerated water for the municipalities to use for flushing [toilets] as well as for parks and gardens are being accelerated, which also produces significant savings in the water reserves we have," Cardeña said, who also highlighted the value of "the maximum production of desalinated water" which means that "we are gaining time".

A major problem affecting the western Costa del Sol is the situation of the aquifers that "have not been regenerated" and many of the municipalities currently supplied by this water resource may have to be supplied from reservoir reserves.

If the case arises, "the criteria for distribution among the localities of the region will be established by the Junta de Andalucía in relation to the increase in demand," Cardeña noted.

New reservoir

The current level of La Concepción reservoir is only just more than 13 cubic hectometres, which reflects the fact that the latest rains have not been sufficient. Cardeña pointed out that "the work to increase the height of this reservoir is not planned", but he did report that "the Junta has brought forward another alternative".

This is a project by the regional government for the new Gibralmedina reservoir. "The aim is to guarantee the supply of the Costa del Sol and Campo Gibraltar, Cardeña said. This will be located on the Guadiaro river, which has, under normal circumstances, ample water.

Cardeña added that "it has been declared an emergency to speed up the procedures due to the 'Drought Plus Plan' decree, which speeds up the awarding of all these works that will guarantee the water supply in any area of Andalucía.”

Tourism

One of the economic sectors directly affected by the drought and the water cuts in March is tourism; professionals in this field have already expressed their concern.

"We are meeting with the sector's representatives to put solutions and action plans in place," Cardeña said.

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