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Photo taken on the banks of the Turón in El Burgo. Madrazo
Drought crisis

Video: This is how the province's river Turón is running after the rains, bringing a key Malaga reservoir back to life

In recent days, the water source has been flowing steadily through the municipality of El Burgo, where you can enjoy spectacular images at the waterfall

Chus Heredia

Malaga

Tuesday, 9 April 2024, 16:25

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The Turón river is a tributary of the Guadalhorce which rises in the Sierra de las Nieves. Its waters flow into the oldest water supply reservoir in Malaga province, the Conde de Guadalhorce, opened by Alfonso XIII in 1921. The reservoir's official records have been recorded since 1997, with levels hitting rock bottom from August last year until the start of this year. Now, thanks to the contributions of storm Monica and Nelson, it has doubled its reserves, although it is still at a third of its capacity. The runoff, more than a week later, is still having an effect on boosting provincial reservoirs, although contributions are starting to slow down.

In recent days, the river has been flowing steadily through the municipality of El Burgo, where you can enjoy spectacular images at the Turón waterfall or at the Salto de la Zorra dam itself. The river flows both over the dam and gushes out through the dam's spigots.

View from the top of the dam.
View from the top of the dam. Cuevas

At the Ardales water measurement station, on Monday 8 April at mid-morning, there were still 1,400 litres per second flowing, practically the same as the water injected by Malaga city into its supply network. On Saturday, there were 1,910 litres and, during the peaks of the last rains - 30 and 31 March and 1 April - there were 9,470, 13,150 and 10,880 litres per second respectively. The depth is around half a metre, far from its historical maximum, when just two years ago it reached three metres.

The river near the centre of El Burgo.
The river near the centre of El Burgo. Madrazo

It is some consolation in the face of the drought crisis, that it is improving, albeit very slowly. So far this year, the Conde reservoir has collected just 137mm, a slightly higher figure than this time last year. By Monday morning it was on its way to 23 cubic hectometres, more than double what it held in December. Just before the start of the rains on 8 March, its level was 12.89 cubic hectometres, when its capacity is 66.49. The average for the past ten years is double the current level, as it exceeds 47 cubic hectometres at this time of year.

Picture taken on 15 December at a low level.
Picture taken on 15 December at a low level. Salvador Salas

The course of the Turón is 40 kilometres long, 12 of them within the area of the Conde reservoir, in the town of Ardales. The river is also fed by the Fuensanta, Sopalmito, Requena, Botera, Corralero, Mediocampo, De los Membrillos, Del Acebuche, De la Cañada del Bujerillo, Barranco del Macho, La Cañada de los Horcajos, De los Lobos, Blanquilla, Cantarrana and De la Doncella streams.

The reservoir, together with the Guadalhorce-Guadalteba system, forms part of the trio of main supplies to Malaga city. In 2021, the regional ministry of agriculture undertook a major project to restore the capacity of the infrastructure's bottom spillways, which had been severely depleted by the accumulation of sediment. The work, costing just under two million euros, was awarded to Acsa.

Current state of the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir, which has doubled its reserves.
Current state of the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir, which has doubled its reserves. Ñito Salas

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