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A worker fills a swimming pool with water from a tanker. SUR
Community pool confusion on the Costa amid drought crisis almost trebles the price of water tankers
Drought crisis

Community pool confusion on the Costa amid drought crisis almost trebles the price of water tankers

Property administrators are calling for the rules to be clarified ahead of summer as regulations set out by the regional Junta de Andalucía and various local municipalities contradict each other

Chus Heredia

Malaga

Monday, 11 March 2024, 12:13

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The price for water tankers are skyrocketing in Malaga province as confusion remains around whether many swimming pools will be allowed to open in summer amid the drought crisis.

Malaga's Colegio de Administradores de Fincas (CAF) provided an example where on Wednesday 6 March they received a quote that has risen 171% in seven days for a tanker with water. The price increase comes as community owners demand administrations to clarify whether swimming pools can be filled this year. The confusion lies in the Junta de Andalucía's drought decree and the town councils' restrictions on water usage, which contradict each other, CAF said.

What now seems clear so far is that it will not be possible to fill swimming pools with drinking water. This has caused the price of water to soar. "We have seen a tanker lorry that has gone from 12,000 litres for 105 euros plus VAT to 285 in one week," CAF added.

Sanitary regulations currently require that the filtering of swimming pool water be carried out in the pool or in holding tanks. This means access to the facilities is cut off for up to 72 hours, with a final analysis to follow, according to Mario Martín from the Servihogar Malaga Group. The expert also said he was concerned about the uncertainty this caused for contracting gardeners, lifeguards and other professionals.

Alternative of storage tanks

Pool owners are now opting for 10,000 to 15,000 litre storage tanks with their own motor to have the water filtered on site. These tanks - which cost about 9,000 euros - can also pose technical issues if there is not enough physical space to install them.

CAF estimated evaporation and splashing accounts for 2% in losses of a pool's daily volume. That equates to two complete fillings in a season of about 100 days, so it called on the administrations to clarify the rules. "The administrators do not want to have the swimming pools closed but we need clear rules of the game," explained the association. It pointed out the situation caused amongst residents and between some residential developments last summer, even official complaints. "In one community they even threw excrement into the swimming pool next door in order to make them close it," it said.

What does the drought decree say?

The Junta's latest drought decree, approved by the regional ministry of agriculture on 29 February, specifies pools can only be filled if they are newly built, and allows for the top up of any losses due to evaporation etc which are estimated to be 2 -3% daily. In practice this would mean that they may have to be completely filled two to three times throughout the summer season.

Another exception concerns educational establishments, with the Junta allowing complete or partial filling of removable swimming pools with a capacity of less than 500 litres intended for children.

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