Hotels and tourist properties in Andalusia will have filled swimming pools this summer

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swimming pool

Andalusia has put an end to the prevailing uncertainty about the drought measures regarding swimming pools in Andalusia. The southern Spanish region has decided that private swimming pools and those of residential complexes may not be filled this summer.

To safeguard tourism and the resulting income, the region makes an exception for the tourism sector. Despite the drought, public swimming pools and those of hotels, campsites, sports facilities, registered tourist homes and for therapeutic use may be refilled.

End to legal uncertainty

The announcement of this water saving measure follows lengthy discussions and uncertainty within various sectors. This includes the College of Real Estate Managers in Málaga. They pointed out the confusion and legal uncertainty created by the contradiction between local regulations and decrees. This contradiction was present in both health and environmental areas. This led to conflict within and between owner communities.

Saltwater pools

Saltwater swimming pools also get the green light if they do not discharge into the sewer system. But saltwater swimming pools with approved installations are allowed. This decision was taken during a unanimous vote in a meeting. In addition, technicians have planned to reassess the situation of reservoirs and water supplies after Easter. Measures can then be changed again if necessary. There is not much hope for a natural solution in the form of lots of rain. The Spanish weather agency Aemet has already predicted that the coming months will be warmer than normal. The higher the temperature, the faster the water present evaporates.

A shaky balance

The authorities in Andalusia are making efforts to find a balance between saving water and providing some normality during the period of drought. The measures are intended to maximize the efficiency of available water while supporting the community. Swimming pools typically lose 2% of their volume every day. That is equivalent to refilling three times during a summer. Immediately filling the swimming pool with water from tankers does not allow the installation to work immediately. That water must first be treated. Another option is to install reservoirs in which the water can be treated.

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Outraged Andalusians

There have been quite a few angry reactions to the reporting of this decision in various Spanish newspapers. Many residents of the region call it ‘discrimination’ that private swimming pools are becoming unusable this summer. They find it ‘ridiculous’ that tourists come from outside and can refresh themselves in swimming pools and those who work hard and pay taxes cannot. “If there is a water shortage, doesn’t that apply to everyone?”

Others point to the fact that without tourists, Andalusians would not even have work. And those people have a point: Andalusia received 33.9 million tourists in 2023. That was almost 10% more than the year before. More than 20 million of those tourists spend the night in hotels. The increase in tourist activity in 2023 has had a direct and indirect impact on Andalusian production of approximately 25 billion euros.

Required legal certainty

The adoption of these rules has been positively received by the Board of Administrators. They emphasize that these measures provide the necessary legal certainty. However, the official publication of these changes in the Official Gazette of the Junta de Andalucía (BOJA) is still awaited.

Also read: What role do swimming pools play in drought-stricken Spain?

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