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Recent dire situation at La Concepción reservoir. Josele
Water pressure reduction to hit the Costa del Sol
Drought crisis

Water pressure reduction to hit the Costa del Sol

A general nighttime reduction in pressure from 21 February is being brought in to comply with the reduced limit of 160 litres per inhabitant per day

Chus Heredia

Friday, 16 February 2024, 16:57

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A general nighttime reduction in water pressure is to be implemented across the western Costa del Sol from 21 February to comply with a reduced limit of 160 litres per inhabitant per day as set by the regional drought committee on 9 February. The reduction is already in place in Fuengirola.

The measure was agreed by Acosol, which supplies water to all 11 municipalities covered by the western Costa del Sol Mancomunidad. Those affected are Torremolinos (although it is mainly supplied from the aquifers of the Sierra de Mijas), Benalmádena, Mijas, Fuengirola, Marbella, Estepona, Ojén, Istán, Benahavís, Manilva and Casares.

The cuts, which will be in place from midnight until 6am - with the exception of Saturdays - have been agreed with the water companies and will particularly affect high apartment blocks, the highest areas of the municipalities, properties without a water tank and those whose overflow systems have not been overhauled.

The hydrological report for the Costa del Sol makes it an absolute priority to leave a reserve of five cubic hectometres in La Concepción reservoir (between Marbella and Istán) for the last quarter of the year. However, at the current rate of usage this would leave only 0.88 hectometres after the summer.

Forecasts include the annual 12 cubic hectometres from the Marbella desalination plant, but not the eight cubic hectometres planned to be produced by portable desalination plants last this year. In the summer, the Marbella desalination plant will have to supply, as is already the case, almost half of the Costa del Sol. Three boreholes will also supply 150 litres of water per second.

La Concepción reservoir had 20.15 cubic hectometres in October. It now has cubic 13.1 hectometres. At current extraction rates, and, if it does not rain sufficiently, it will have cubic 2.5 hectometres in September.

With the exception of the months of July and August, 57% comes from the reservoir, 28.5 cubic hectometres from the desalination plant, 10.52 hectometres from Fuengirola and 3.52 cubic hectometres from the Guadalmansa boreholes. In the summer, the desalination plant will have to supply, as is already the case on a regular basis, almost half of the consumption of the entire coast. In September, for example, it is estimated that 1.4 hectometres will come from the reservoir and 1.1 from the desalination plant.

"These new joint measures to alleviate the effects of the prolonged drought are a result of the decision taken by the Andalusian drought committee that limits to 160 litres per inhabitant per day to the entire province of Malaga, when previously the limit was 200 litres per inhabitant/day," Acosol said in a statement.

The Costa del Sol has been in a serious drought for months, but the rainfall this year has been particularly scarce. The water company stressed the need for responsible consumption and prohibitions such as using drinking water for watering public and private parks and gardens; irrigation of golf courses; filling and refilling swimming pools (except for exceptional authorisations granted by the drought commission); washing vehicles (except for authorised establishments); fountains and lakes without a closed water circuit, and public fountains and showers.

"The regulation issued by the Junta de Andalucía also enables the imposition of penalties on those users who consume excessively, irresponsibly and unscrupulously, given the shortage situation. Special attention will be paid to excessive consumption," the statement added.

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