Relaxation of water restrictions on the western Costa del Sol as of June 1

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water restrictions relaxed

Following a meeting earlier this month of the drought committee in Andalucia, it had already been announced that water restrictions would be relaxed. The reason for the less strict restrictions was the replenishment of water reserves in southern Spain thanks to precipitation around Easter.

Positive news that was, but everyone was still eagerly awaiting its realisation. This has now come in the form of an exceptional permission from the Junta de Andalucía. Moreover, this is in force from June 1 to September 30. This means that municipalities on the western Costa del Sol, including Málaga City, have been given the green light to partially refill private and public swimming pools this summer. The municipalities to which this relaxation of water restrictions applies are as follows:

  • Benahavís
  • Benalmádena
  • Casares
  • Estepona
  • Fuengirola
  • Istán
  • Manilva
  • Marbella
  • Mijas
  • Ojén
  • Torremolinos

Read the press release from the water company Acosol about the relaxation here.

Refilling swimming pools

Partial refilling of both public and private swimming pools is permitted, provided they are equipped with a water recirculation system. Topping up is limited to the amounts necessary to replenish evaporative losses and maintain the level so that the filters can do their cleaning work and so that the water remains of good quality. In addition, the use of drinking water is allowed for filling mobile or demountable swimming pools in educational centres or swimming pools intended for people with disabilities or special needs. Otherwise, the permit is maintained for the first filling of newly built public and private swimming pools or the filling after renovation work has been carried out on swimming pools.

Showers

Sports facilities and swimming pools are allowed to use their showers. This is provided they are equipped with timers or sensors to save water. This also applies to showers on beaches that are specially equipped for people with reduced mobility.

Drinking fountains and street cleaning

Public drinking fountains will be allowed to continue operating after the easing of water restrictions. However, this is only provided they are equipped with water-saving mechanisms such as timers. Municipalities may also use drinking water for cleaning and disinfecting streets, provided they use water-saving high-pressure cleaners.

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Watering gardens

For watering gardens, a maximum amount of 200 cubic metres per hectare per month is permitted. That amount can be up to 400 cubic metres for botanically valuable species. This irrigation is called ‘survival irrigation’ and is only intended to prevent trees and plants from dying. If non-potable water is not available, potable water may be used, but the total consumption of drinking water shall not exceed 225 litres per person per day.

The watering frequency is limited to one day per week. Acosol, the water company of the western Costa del Sol, has drawn up a schedule for the various municipalities. The schedule is as follows:

  • Monday: Torremolinos, Ojén and Estepona
  • Tuesday: Mijas y Casares
  • Wednesday: Marbella
  • Thursday: Benalmádena and Benahavis
  • Friday: Fuengirola, Manilva and Istán.

Implementation

These measures follow a resolution by the General Secretariat of Water of the Junta de Andalucía, which allows exceptions for the western Costa del Sol. The request for these exceptions was submitted on May 10 and supplemented on May 22 following new drought measures by the Junta. These have increased the drought level from severe to severe scarcity.

Although the measures have been relaxed somewhat, the municipalities still call on residents and visitors to be conscious about water consumption, in order to jointly contribute to combating the drought.

For more information about the specific measures and exceptions, please visit the official websites of the municipalities concerned or the Junta de Andalucía. Most municipalities also share press releases via their Facebook or X pages.

Enforcement

Because the Junta de Andalucía leaves the implementation of the restrictions to the municipalities, it is the local police who have to enforce them. The question remains how they will do that. Incorrect or excessive use of drinking water will constitute an offense as referred to in the municipal regulation of the ‘Ciclo Integral del Agua’, with fines up to €6,010.12  in the case of minor violations

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