COSTA DEL SOL – Now that drought is gripping the south of Spain and more and more municipalities are imposing water restrictions, solutions are needed more than ever. That is why the western Costa del Sol is working on a ‘waterway’ that will distribute the water during drought.
Matilde Mancha, head of Acosol – the water company for the western Costa del Sol – shares in the newspaper SUR their vision for a waterway connecting the future new reservoir in Campo de Gibraltar with La Viñuela in the Axarquía region. Mancha emphasises the seriousness of the current drought: 20% less water must be used. Municipalities are trying to achieve this goal by banning the spraying of parks and filling swimming pools with tap water and by focusing more on using recycled water.
Normally the La Viñuela reservoir in eastern Axarquía, and the largest in the province of Málaga, can supply water to the western Costa around Marbella, but investment is needed to get the water there. La Concepción reservoir in the west is too small. Moreover, sometimes it even has to be opened during heavy rain to let the water out. Furthermore, the terrain is too difficult to enlarge this reservoir.
As the main initiative to get water from La Axarquía to the coast from Torremolinos to Manilva, Acosol plans to increase Axarquía’s water pumping capacity from 200 litres to 500 litres per second. The Junta de Andalucía has secured improvements to the pumping plant, but the network it connects to needs upgrades.
Connection to new reservoir
A second major goal is a connection to a future reservoir on the Guadiana River. From here, water can be pumped to Marbella. This also requires building a dam on the Guadiario River in the municipality of Jimena de la Frontera. This project is expected to cost €240 million.
Desalination plant to the rescue
During the drought, Acosol relies on the outdated desalination plant in Marbella. This is currently being modernised to double its capacity. In addition, the water treatment plant in Marbella is also in need of expansion. This project will be financed by the Junta and should increase the capacity from 2,000 to 4,600 litres per second.
Reuse of water
Mancha points out the importance of using recycled water by municipalities and local businesses, especially for golf courses and watering parks and gardens. Nearly half of all golf courses already purchase recycled water to keep the greens green.
Major sewer improvements
Although the coastal sewer has no direct impact on freshwater supplies, it plays a crucial role in environmental protection, especially during storms. Two major improvements are underway, with a total cost of €8 million.