LA VIÑUELA – Unrest has arisen in the normally quiet La Viñuela due to excessively high water bills. Schotten Thomas and Gillian Hodge are stunned after receiving a water bill of a whopping €45,220. This relates to just one quarter back in 2022.
And then there are also people who have received a bill of no less than €70,000 for a quarter. Thomas and Gillian Hogde indicate that they were only in their home for two weeks during that period.
Paul Rouse, another affected resident, suggests that air bubbles in the water pipes, caused by interruptions in the water supply, have led to absurd amounts. Water quality problems at La Viñuela reservoir due to the drought may also have contributed to the debacle. That reservoir is worryingly empty and has been at less than 10% of its capacity for some time.
Mayor remains steadfast
The shocking bills and the protests of the residents do not seem to affect the mayor of La Viñuela, José Juan Jiménez (PSOE). The newspaper Sur writes that he maintains his position that if the measurements have been carried out correctly, the bills must be paid.
The municipality receives an average of €150,000 per year for water and states that excessive water use, above 350 cubic metres, is penalised at €32 per cubic metre, as a result of regional drought measures that call for a 20% reduction in water use. However, the drought measures are set this summer, while the bills date back to 2022.
Meanwhile, residents are faced with an impending financial debacle. That´s why they have united, set up a Facebook group, and are calling on the municipal council to take action. The English-language group on Facebook already has 231 members. They threaten legal action and try to reverse the payments from their bank. They wonder how the municipality thinks that they can simply cough up tens of thousands of euros for their water bill.
Lack of support
The group reacts with indignation to the lack of support from the municipality that the residents experience. It frustrates them that the municipal council simply assumes that they have suddenly used millions of litres of water. Meanwhile, Paul Rouse is seeking publicity in the hope of a solution. On Thursday he was able to tell his story on national TV at Antena3.