Estepona allows filling of private swimming pools

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filling private swimming pools

Private swimming pools in Estepona may be filled by their owners despite the drought. Mayor José María García Urbano stated this on Thursday. The Andalucian government leaves the decision on this to the 103 municipalities. Read on to find out what other municipalities on the popular holiday coast are planning to do.

Estepona’s mayor was able to justify his decision well. He indicated that 76% of water consumption is accounted for by agriculture, 7% by industry, 16% for urban use and only 1% goes to swimming pools and green areas. The measure not to allow private pool owners to fill their pools would save less than 1% of water consumption. Furthermore, the mayor sees no reason why one swimming pool should be filled and the other not. He refers to the previously established rule that hotels and sports facilities are allowed to fill their swimming pools and people with their own swimming pool in the garden are not.

Private pools Marbella

The municipality of Marbella will wait until the beginning of May to make a final decision. Then the drought committee of the Junta de Andalucía will meet again to discuss possible measures against the drought. However, Angeles Muñoz emphasises that she hopes for a united attitude from all municipalities on the Costa del Sol that receive water from the La Concepción reservoir. This water reserve is currently at 73% of its capacity.

Marbella is, according to Land Registry data, the third municipality in Spain with the most swimming pools. With more than 10,700, it is surpassed only by Madrid (14,127) and Córdoba (11,683). In the province of Malaga there are 78,606 swimming pools, most of them on the western Costa del Sol. The municipality with the most swimming pools is Marbella (10,744), followed by Mijas (8,214) and the capital of Málaga (5,926). Alhaurín de la Torre has 4,966, Estepona with 4,264 and Benalmádena with 3,943.

Attitude of the municipality of Malaga

The municipality of Malaga has also indicated that it hopes that all municipalities on the Costa del Sol will adopt the same attitude towards filling swimming pools. For the time being, it appears that in addition to hotel swimming pools, communal swimming pools of residential buildings may also be filled, but private swimming pools may not. The councillor for Sustainability, Penélope Gómez, Penélope Gómez, pointed out in a plenary committee that the current regulations date from November. At that time the drought situation was similar to the current one. She indicated that she could imagine that filling communal swimming pools would be allowed, as opposed to private swimming pools.

Statements by Mayor Alhaurín de la Torre

In Alhaurín de la Torre there is one swimming pool for every eight inhabitants (almost 5,000 for about 40,000 inhabitants). Mayor Joaquín Villanova says that no agreement has yet been reached with the other municipalities. He also emphasises that “every municipality has a different situation”. In his municipality it is currently prohibited to refill swimming pools. He adds that “we will still see whether the Junta will allow it with a system other than the municipal network. We will not give permission to take water from the municipal network. We are dependent on the Mijas reservoir, which has not been replenished with the Easter rainfall.”

In this context, Villanova says it is waiting for a ruling from the Junta on a possible filling with water reservoirs or other systems that are not dependent on the municipal network. “Alhaurín de la Torre has a different situation than Torremolinos and at the moment we are not allowing swimming pools to be filled.”

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Cártama in favour of joint decision

Jorge Gallardo, councilor of Cártama, states that he would be in favour of a joint decision. “All municipal authorities would make the same decision, but it must be the Junta de Andalucía that decides.” This was also the aim after a meeting in the regional council with the other mayors of the area around the Guadalhorce River. “A joint decision on the topic of swimming pools is better, so that it is not the case that they are open in Coín, closed in Cártama, open in Pizarra. It is more logical that if there is no water, there is no water for anyone.” Moreover, he states that the Junta cannot abdicate responsibility and thus pit the town halls against each other. According to Gallardo, it would be embarrassing and politically untenable if a municipality could open swimming pools and the city next door could not.

This agreement is also not yet clear in the Community of the Western Costa del Sol. Acosol, the company that manages their water, assures that a decision will be made next month based on the evolution of rainfall and the stability of the reservoirs and wells.


In Axarquía they are waiting for a meeting between their community and that of the Costa del Sol to decide the measures to be followed. In any case, the Councilor for Infrastructure of Nerja, José Alberto Tomé, assures that his municipality will follow “the guidelines, decrees and resolutions of the Junta de Andalucía”.

Aqualia, the company that manages water consumption in some municipalities of the province, indicates that they are waiting for the decision in their municipal councils. The situation varies per municipality. In some the water reserve has improved and in others it has not. They are looking at whether they can opt for works to bring water from other places and to see whether or not the final condition of the reservoirs allows the filling of swimming pools”

Property managers also want the government of Andalucia to take the lead to avoid this municipal confusion. Manuel Jiménez, president of the College of Real Estate Managers, does not see leaving the decision to the municipal councils as a ‘fair measure’. He argues that some may approve of filling swimming pools, while a home just steps away in the community next door cannot.

Also read: Alarm Costa del Sol: no tourists without swimming pools

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