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A swimming pool in the garden of a luxury villa in Marbella. SUR
High-end property sector demands water infrastructure improvements on Costa del Sol
Drought crisis

High-end property sector demands water infrastructure improvements on Costa del Sol

"If a client pays 6,000 euros for a night in a villa they want to have access to water whenever they need it," said one Marbella property administrator

María Albarral

Marbella

Wednesday, 28 February 2024, 19:12

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The Costa del Sol’s high-end property sector is calling on the authorities to urgently invest in infrastructure to guarantee water supply over fears that the ongoing drought affecting much of southern Spain will affect sales and rentals. The DOM3 business group, which brings together almost 40 companies in the luxury villas sector have pointed out that "they work consciously to ensure responsible use of water” in their various activities and at their last meeting they started a petition addressed to the public authorities to develop a plan to alleviate the problem.

"We are very aware of the lack of water, all our members are committed and make the most efficient use of this resource, but the public administrations must also do their job and create the necessary infrastructures. We can't just wait for it to rain, that's not going to solve a long-term problem," said DOM3's president, Charly Simon.

Although clients in the luxury housing sector, most of whom are foreigners who own second or third homes on the Costa del Sol, are increasingly aware of the situation, the drought is not influencing the market or investments in the area for the moment. For this reason, DOM3 added that "the different administrations must continue to improve the existing infrastructures and create the necessary ones so that the tourism industry can continue to be maintained and generate wealth in the area".

Swimming pools

One of the main fears in the high-end sector is that the lack of water will affect sales and rentals if it is not resolved. "If a client pays 6,000 euros for a night in a villa they want to have access to water whenever they need it," said a Marbella property administrator, who added that "this is a very demanding visitor profile, especially for a basic service such as water".

But the problem goes beyond residential tourism and property rentals. In the same vein, the high-end hotels consulted by SUR newspaper have also expressed their concerns. "We are very worried that the situation will escalate and, at some point, we will be banned from filling our swimming pools for the summer", commented Ignacio Gómez- Escolar, director of Hard Rock Hotel Marbella.

Gómez-Escolar added that "this could have terrible consequences because if word gets out to tour operators, especially the British, which is our biggest market, we run the risk of them cancelling our bookings and diverting this tourism to destinations such as Turkey".

Public-private consortium

The luxury sector, which generates so much wealth in Marbella, Estepona and Benahavís, has a direct influence on the local economy of the three municipalities, for example the fashion shops in Puerto Banús alone had a turnover of 282 million euros in 2023.

Speaking at the annual Study and Evolution of the Market conference organised by the Leading Property Agents of Spain (LPA) in November 2023, CEO of UHY Fay and Cou, Bernard Fay, highlighted the need to create "a public-private consortium to involve companies and public administrations in the creation of a strategic plan".

He said the aim was to define "what kind of city we want to have in the next 15 years". Fay spoke of "the need for efficient infrastructures to combat drought as well as transport problems" in order to guarantee these services to people.

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