The Guadalhorce reservoir in Malaga. salvador salas
Water restrictions in Malaga and on the Costa to continue despite the rain

Water restrictions in Malaga and on the Costa to continue despite the rain

The Junta de Andalucía is proceeding with the declaration of drought emergency it approved on 11 March, banning the use of potable water for certain purposes

Francisco Jiménez


Tuesday, 22 March 2022, 12:13


The recent rainfall, and that predicted for the rest of this month, has not changed the Junta de Andalucía’s plans to restrict water consumption in Malaga city and on the Costa del Sol because of the drought. It has announced that it will continue with its plans to ban the use of potable water for certain purposes, as approved on 11 March.

This means it cannot be used to clean streets, fill private swimming pools, water gardens, parks or golf courses, wash cars except in official car wash facilities, for ornamental fountains without a closed circuit or public showers and drinking fountains.

Ironically, it began to rain on the same day the restrictions were approved. Since 11 March, the reservoirs have gained 32.6 cubic hectometres of water, and now contain 223.5 Hm3. This is the equivalent to the amount of water consumed in the province over four months.

Since then, and two weeks before the situation is due to be reviewed, none of the restrictions has actually come into force because the mandate from the regional Ministry of Agriculture and Sustainable Development has to be published in the Junta de Andalucía’s Official Bulletin (BOJA) first.

When will that be? “A matter of days” said sources at the Junta on Monday, although they also stressed that there is a possibility the measures will be lifted again in early April, depending on how the situation evolves.

Drought threshold

The threshold set was that the western Costa del Sol would enter into a state of drought emergency if on 1 March La Concepción reservoir contained less than 35.6 Hm3, and would exit that status once it reached 42.3 Hm3 or was at 49.7 on 1 June. Right now it contains 31.1 Hm3, which is eight more than a week ago but far below the 56 Hm3 it contained this time last year.

The biggest reservoirs that supply Malaga city (Guadalhorce, Guadalteba and Conde del Guadalhorce) currently contain 145 Hm3 altogether, whereas a week ago they only held 125.7. However, even this is not enough for the city to avoid the restrictions. According to the decree, Malaga will not exit the state of emergency until these three reservoirs have held more than 140 Hm3 for more than two consecutive months.

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