Friday, 19 January 2024, 12:49
On Monday night Fuengirola became the first town on the western Costa del Sol to introduce drought restrictions to its water supply. As the town hall announced last week, local water company Gestagua reduced the water pressure between midnight and 7am, a measure it will repeat every night, except Saturday, until further notice.
While the drop in pressure was applied across the board, it affected some of the town's 80,000 residents more than others, depending on the location of their homes and whether or not they have their own water storage tank.
Local bakery El Horno is one of the few where bakers work through the night making the next day's bread. The water reduction did not prevent them from filling their shelves on Tuesday morning, but neither did it go unnoticed. "You could tell there was less water because when you turned the tap on it came out with less force, but we had water all night," said one of the bakers.
There was concern, however, about whether the situation would get worse. "Water is very important, we need it for the steam in the oven. We have a 50-litre tank and we have to keep filling it up so the oven works correctly," said the worker.
Work also starts early at Vicente, a fishmonger's in Avenida Acapulco, although staff there didn't notice a difference before 7am. "Our building has a tank," explained one of the workers.
There were mixed reactions among local people to the measure. The president of residents' association El Árbol in Los Pacos, Pascual Sánchez, said they had "no complaints" because at the time the water pressure drops "practically everyone is in bed".
Alberto, who lives in the same neighbourhood, did not agree. "We live in a house and downstairs we had water, but practically nothing upstairs," he said.
"It feels like the people of Fuengirola have been abandoned. In summer the beach showers were working at full pelt for the tourists and now we are in this situation," said Juan Carlos, who pointed out that "it's just at the times when electricity is supposed to be cheaper to use the washing machine or dishwasher that we have less water."
According to Gestagua on its website, the higher areas of the town are being affected most, "such as the upper part of Los Boliches, Ajolin and Guadebro, Boquetillo, Calle La Unión, Santiago, Calle Sevilla and the supper part of Miramar".
The company also pointed out that the supply in Fuengirola was separate from that of Mijas, even in Calle La Unión where the two municipalities meet.
Mayor Ana Mula stressed on Tuesday the "extraordinary level of civility" among residents "at the most complex times, such as this serious drought that we are facing together".
She added, "Just as we have done so many times in recent years, with the financial crisis and the pandemic, we will get through this problem."
The residents of an apartment complex in Benalmádena have donated the water from their swimming pool to the local council to use just as more drought curbs potentially loom for the Costa del Sol. The water was going to be drained away and the pool emptied and, according to the council, it is now to be used for pressure cleaning the streets and for watering plants that are at risk.
Local councillor for the environment Juan Olea highlighted the importance of this type of private gesture, "which helps us keep on top of the day-to-day work of the council in the midst of the drought decree which continues to subject the council to severe restrictions".
He added that the council had had other offers from organisations of water from pools as they were being drained.
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