The heavy rain in the first two weeks of December have boosted water supplies in Malaga province, especially on the western Costa del Sol. To the east of Malaga city, however, it did not rain enough to make much difference as the area is still in a situation of severe drought and is likely to remain so, at least in the short term.
The overall figures are encouraging, though: before the rain came the reservoirs in Malaga contained 204.7 cubic hectometres and now they hold 228.6, according to figures from the Junta de Andalucía’s Red Hidrosur. Those extra Hm3 are enough to supply the population, including the needs of the agricultural, tourism and industrial sectors, for three months.
La Concepción reservoir in Marbella is currently 70% full and contains 40 Hm3. This is considerably higher than a year ago (26.3 Hm3) and it continues to receive water from the Río Verde river. When the rains began La Concepción was 48% full with 27 Hm3.
The three Guadalhorce reservoirs are not as full as La Concepción but they do hold more water now than they did at this time last year. The Guadalteba is currently at 56% capacity with 85.7 Hm3, the Guadalhorce is 36% full with 45.2 Hm3 and the Conde de Guadalhorce is at 30% with nearly 20 Hm3.
La Viñuela reservoir in the Axarquía, the area which is affected most by the present drought, is currently 11.2% full and contains nearly 18.4 Hm3 after having received just over 3 Hm3 more water in the past few weeks. However, this is nowhere near enough to supply the 14 municipalities and their 220,000 inhabitants as well as provide irrigation for 6,300 hectares of subtropical fruits and other produce. The present level is still well below that of a year ago, when La Viñuela contained 27.7 Hm3.
The Junta de Andalucía is clear that the water supply for Malaga, especially the east of the province, cannot be left to the vagaries of the weather and it is carrying out urgent works, including a desalination plant and modifying sewage plants to provide a supply of recycled water for irrigation, to put an end to this recurrent situation and ensure that domestic and agricultural needs can be met in the future.