Improvements to the Marbella desalination plant will eventually triple its production capacity. Josele
Western strip of Costa del Sol dodges water restrictions thanks mainly to desalination plant
Drought crisis

Western strip of Costa del Sol dodges water restrictions thanks mainly to desalination plant

The treatment plant in Marbella is operating at its current maximum capacty, with plans in place to triple it, and supply to the area is guaranteed at least "until October or November"

Francisco Jiménez


Saturday, 19 August 2023, 21:32


While water restrictions are spreading throughout the Axarquía area of Malaga province, with some cuts in supply at night, the western strip of the Costa del Sol is set to fare much better through the summer.

To date, the western Costa del Sol is only having to reduce the frequency of watering and irrigation of green areas in order to comply with the 10% reduction in urban consumption ordered by the Junta de Andalucía regional government in June.

The difference between the eastern and western Costa del Sol lies, fundamentally, in the greater availability of water resources in the western area, which allows it "to have a guaranteed supply without any kind of problem at least until October or November", according to Manuel Cardeña, the new president of the Mancomunidad de Municipios and who was previously executive director of Acosol, the public water company.

Currently, the desalination plant in Marbella is operating at its maximum capacity and provides 1,750 m³ of water every hour. It is undergoing improvements that will allow it to double, and later triple, its current capacity. It provides an important cushion to La Concepción reservoir which is at half its capacity with 27.8 cubic hectometres.

Whilethe Axarquía is still waiting for the construction of a desalination plant, on the western Costa del Sol (which uses five cubic hectometers of water a month) there has been a facility since 2005. This was designed to produce 20 cubic hectometres per year but it currently injects a maximum of seven cubic hectometres into the water network because it has become obsolete.

On the western Costa del Sol plans are underfoot for the future Gibralmedina reservoir, planned for Jimena de la Frontera, in Cadiz province, which would use the Guadiaro. This is the only large river in the region that is not used for drinking water despite it having above average levels of rainfall across its catchment. This would primarily serve the the Campo de Gibraltar, though a water transfer to Malaga is also on the horizon.

The regional government has the project in draft phase, although it is asking the central government to assume its execution, valued at 239 million euros, because the improvement of the Guadiaro's hydraulic systems was declared to be of general state interest. Construction is planned for the period 2027-2033 and could store between 45 and 60 hectometres.


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