A worker filling a pool with water from a tanker (file image). SUR
Swimming pools at self-catering villas in south of Spain 'cannot be filled this summer'
Drought crisis

Swimming pools at self-catering villas in south of Spain 'cannot be filled this summer'

The regional government in Andalucía has clarified a confusing situation over restrictions and a formal notice confirming it is expected in the next few days

SUR in English


Friday, 22 March 2024, 14:36


The regional government in the south of Spain has confirmed that private pools and shared pools in residential communities will not be able to fill up or top up with water this summer, as the area's severe drought continues. An official Junta de Andalucía notice on the rules is expected in the coming days.

News of the decision came last week when the region's expert drought committee met to clarify what had become a confusing set of rules, with some towns contradicting regional instructions.

While private homes and shared pools will miss out, hotels and public - mostly municipal - pools will be allowed to keep filling up. People in inland villages often rely on the municipal open-air pool to keep cool in summer.

There was still some uncertainty over whether private villas rented out for holiday lettings and residential communities with a lot of Airbnb-style rentals would be allowed to fill up. However, pending the final publication of the decree, it was made clear this week by the Junta's representative for Malaga province, Patricia Navarro, that these will not be authorised to fill up or top up this summer - either with mains water or water in tankers.

"We think there is a chance that, between now and June, the water resources in the reservoirs will recover. This will be reviewed, and after Easter there will be another meeting," Navarro added, giving hope that restrictions might not be needed after all.

The Andalusian association of tourist homes and apartments (AVVA PRO) told SUR, "We understood that we were included, that tourist homes are included... we will wait to see what appears when the BOJA [official gazette] is published, but we believe that it would be absolute discrimination to allow hotels and not tourist homes."

Committee decision

Last week's drought committee's conclusion was that the prohibition contained in a 2021 regional decree should be maintained and neither private individuals or communities of owners will be able to fill their swimming pools with drinking water (also known as potable water) this summer.

But the regional ministry of Agriculture confirmed that the drought crisis regulation will not be imposed for health, educational and sports centres, registered tourist accommodation complexes, hotels and public swimming pools.

Privately owned salt water pools that have the necessary certified facilities, and do not discharge into the sewage system, will be allowed.

The Malaga association of property administrators has told members this week that not even water brought in from tanker lorries can be used by owners, an option that some complexes and private homes were hoping for.

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