The new rules go live Saturday, 1 June. SUR
Drought decree in Malaga: updated rules for swimming pools, beach showers and irrigation of gardens come into effect on 1 June
Drought crisis

Drought decree in Malaga: updated rules for swimming pools, beach showers and irrigation of gardens come into effect on 1 June

Failure to comply with the new regulations can lead to fines of up to 6,000 euros for minor breaches

Chus Heredia


Friday, 31 May 2024, 17:45

Opciones para compartir

Malaga city has received approval from the regional authority for water usage exceptions requested in the high season to cope with the summer, despite the severe drought situation. The Junta de Andalucía considers that it is possible to comply with the 200 litres per inhabitant per day allocated as the measured volume at the head of the network. The updated regulations are very similar to those received on Thursday for the western Costa del Sol. Water supply companies Emasa, Axaragua, Acosol, and Arcgisa (Campo de Gibraltar) all agreed on common rules to face the summer on equal terms.

However, Malaga city council has called for prudence in the use of water and reminded that the Local Police will be able to sanction any behaviour that breaches the decree.


The new rules come into force on 1 June. From then on, the refilling of private swimming pools (both communal and individual), the watering of public and private green areas once a week, street cleaning with pressure washers, the reactivation of 324 distributed drinking fountains and the reactivation of the showers on the beaches in areas reserved for people with reduced mobility will be allowed. These issues are set out in a new decree issued by the Mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, and will remain in force until 30 September.

The authorisation by the Andalucían government is conditional upon compliance with the maximum allocation of 200 litres per inhabitant per day for urban use. The Guadalhorce-Limonero water supply system remains in a situation of exceptional drought despite the increase in the volume of water stored in the reservoirs supplying the city (storing more than 91 cubic hectometers) after the March rains, the reduction in consumption, and the availability of alternative contributions through increased use of wells in the Lower Guadalhorce. The exceptions contemplated and authorised from June 1 to September 30 are as follows:

All exceptions

- Swimming pools: The refilling of public and private swimming pools with a water recirculation system is permitted, in the quantities necessary to replace evaporation losses, clean filters and guarantee the sanitary quality of the water, including the use of showers. In addition, the use of drinking water is authorised for the filling of removable swimming pools in educational centres or those for people with disabilities or special needs. As for the rest, authorisation is maintained for the first filling of newly built public and private pools or filling in response to pool refurbishment work.

- Drinking fountains: The drinking fountains throughout the city, equipped with automatic opening and closing valves, are back in operation. The supply from the public drinking fountains was interrupted last November in compliance with the order of the regional government.

- Watering of public and private green areas: Exceptions to the restrictions are made to allow the use of drinking water for the survival irrigation of trees, shrubs and plants (not including meadows) only one day a week and only in those areas of the city where there is no water from the groundwater table (non-drinking) or regenerated water. In this regard, it should be pointed out that public parks and gardens and most of those managed by the urban conservation collaborating entities are irrigated with groundwater.

At the same time, the maximum authorised non-drinking water allocation for irrigation of parks and gardens is increased from 200 to 400 m3 per hectare per month.

- Street cleaning: Exceptionally, drinking water may be used again for the cleaning and disinfection of roads using low consumption pressure washers.

- Showers on the beaches: The supply of both showers and footbaths will continue to be cut off as an awareness and saving measure, although the consumption generated by both services on the beaches does not reach 0.24% of the total. On the other hand, the showers will be allowed to be used in the three areas on the beaches of Malaga exclusively for people with reduced mobility (Misericordia, Malagueta and El Dedo).

- Showers in sports facilities and swimming pools: Showers shall be permitted in sports facilities and swimming pools where their use is mandatory for sanitary reasons.

Otherwise, the other measures set out in the order of 16 November 2023 which, based on the Order of 24 October 2023 of the regional government, prohibits the use of drinking water for street washing; filling private swimming pools; watering gardens, public or private parks and golf courses; washing cars outside authorised establishments; and ornamental fountains that do not have a closed water circuit, remain in force.

It is warned that the Local Police may carry out surveillance and control tasks to ensure compliance with the provisions of this by-law and that, while it is in force, these uses will constitute an infringement as provided for in the municipal ordinance of the integral water cycle with penalties of up to 6,010.12 euros in the case of minor infractions.

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