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Holy Week 2024 is marked by rain and unstable weather in Malaga. Marilú Báez
Recent rain improves reservoir levels in the Axarquia and on the Costa del Sol, with up to 120mm forecast to fall in some areas this week
Drought crisis

Recent rain improves reservoir levels in the Axarquia and on the Costa del Sol, with up to 120mm forecast to fall in some areas this week

Although far from ending the drought crisis, the downpours - in addition to the run-off from the mountains from another storm earlier this month - could be key for Malaga province's water supply

Chus Heredia

Malaga

Tuesday, 26 March 2024, 10:50

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It's Easter and with it comes some much-needed rain, although it's not to everyone's liking as the inclement weather is spoiling many Holy Week procession plans. However, the forecast rain over the next few days may help to counter the severe drought currently plaguing Malaga province.

The Axarquia and the Costa del Sol have already started to see improvements in their reservoirs, meanwhile Malaga city appears to be out of the most serious level of drought, as SUR reported on Palm Sunday.

While the situation is far from rosy, recent rains means the Junta's drought committee will meet again next week to determine how much water there is and, if necessary, to reconsider restrictions, which are now set at 160 litres per inhabitant per day.

The recent downpours falling into the reservoirs come after the weekend of 9-10 March, which saw much-needed 16 cubic hectometres dumped in the reservoirs and left run-off from the mountains flowing into them days later.

The Junta will take the reservoir data into account when making its assessment next week: previous level plus rainfall contributions minus estimated consumption, evaporation and ecological flow. And with Easter upon us, more visitors come to Malaga province, putting pressure on water reserves. Malaga province reservoirs are at 18.62% as of yesterday (Monday 25 March) with 113.86 cubic hectometres. This is just half of what it was at this time last year.

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Up to 80mm of rain forecast on the coast,

The European weather model gives an encouraging outlook for the province's reservoirs. At La Concepción reservoir, which serves the western strip of the Costa del Sol, the outlook forecasts 79mm of possible rainfall until 1 April. Saturday 30 April marks the maximum, with 39mm.

It would be a significant amount since storm Monica earlier in March, which increased the reservoir between Marbella and Istán by almost five cubic hectometres.

Another 70mm in the Axarquía

The first area to enter a level of serious drought in the province was Axarquia, which has been receiving 270 litres per second from Malaga for many months. But the latest rains have taken the La Viñuela reservoir up to 17 cubic hectometres, when it was recently at just 11.

In this case, the numerical model predicts 70mm until 2 April, with a peak of 24mm on Holy Saturday. The contribution from the wells of the river Chíllar should still be high as long as these are not exhausted. The reservoirs that supply Malaga city have more than 71.4 hectometres of water. In recent days they have registered between 4 and 13mm.

Up to 120mm in the Guadalhorce valley?

Up to 120mm between now and 2 April is forecast in the Guadalhorce valley. Again, Saturday 30 March, with an average of 47mm looks to be the most promising day.

But a large part of Malaga province takes all or part of its water from springs or aquifers. It is therefore important that the rain infiltrates these areas as well. The 22.4mm collected in Pujerra, 12.8mm of El Torcal, 9.8mm of Aljaima and Fahala and the 13.3mm of the Sierra de Mijas are crucial sources.

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