Málaga province needs two new desalination plants and three new reservoirs

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desalination plants

During a meeting of the Forum of Mayors at Málaga City Hall, significant conclusions were drawn regarding the water issues in the southern Spanish province. The forum discussed the findings of working groups established in February to address drought and water scarcity.

The general conclusion was clear: the situation is severe. Málaga urgently requires new water infrastructure, including desalination plants and reservoirs.

Identified shortcomings

The “Carta del Agua” (Water Charter) presented at the meeting criticised the lack of a clear, transparent, and digitized inventory of existing water resources. There is insufficient knowledge about the state of aquifers (specific geological formations that contain and transmit water) and how best to replenish them. Additionally, there is inadequate monitoring of underground water extraction, a high number of leaks, and a lack of uniform tariff criteria.

Recommendations for the future

Experts and municipal technicians proposed reducing water consumption and better managing demand. Prioritising the reuse of treated water for irrigation and cleaning was highlighted. They also advocated for better connections between different water basins and uniform tariff structures.

Infrastructure and innovation

Key recommendations for new infrastructure included the construction of new connections between different coastal areas and the improvement of the Pilones water treatment plant. Additionally, the construction of new desalination plants for both the Axarquía and the Costa del Sol, alongside the existing plants in Marbella and Estepona, was proposed.

Projects and plans

New Reservoirs:

Baycrest Wealth
  • Gibralmedina Reservoir on the Guadiario River
  • Cerro Blanco Reservoir on the Grande River
  • Expansion of the La Concepción Reservoir (near Istán, supplying water to the Marbella area)

Desalination Plants:

  • New plants in the Axarquía region
  • A large additional plant on the Costa del Sol

Water Recycling:

  • Construction of a tertiary system to reuse treated water at the Bajo Guadalhorce treatment plant

Reactions from local leaders

Málaga Mayor Francisco de la Torre emphasised the severity of the drought despite favorable rainfall during Semana Santa. He called for ongoing efforts in water regeneration and leak prevention. He also stressed the importance of the latest studies on water wells and the need for water sharing and efficient use.

Francisco Salado, president of the provincial government, highlighted the shared responsibility of all municipalities and called for concrete actions such as improved water supply networks, transfers, and capacity expansions.

Patricia Navarro, the provincial delegate of the Junta de Andalucía, underscored that the drought is far from over. She called for a balance between economic, tourism, and agricultural activities with the preservation of water reserves. She mentioned that 80% of the drought plans are already in progress and that significant investments have been made to improve water supply.

Also read: Costa del Sol wants ‘water-highway’ in the fight against drought


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