Flooding in Motril

MOT flooding 05ITCIt was Motril’s turn for flooding – and when you see people canoeing through a street, it’s a pretty good indication that it’s been raining a bit on the active side.

The flooding was not widespread, but mainly hit the Playa Granada area and the port, which are close to sea level. Another place that will certainly remember the abnormally rainy days of Christmas 2009 is the lorry park just behind, Tropen, next to the Granada junction.

As luck would have it, the side of an irrigation channel gave way and the water plunged into a lorry park, which had the double handicap of being lower in level than the surrounding land and completely enclosed by a brick wall. The result was, as can be seen in the photograph, was the water almost reaching as high as the windscreens on a parked articulated lorry. Motril firemen put the maximum water level as three meters. Cars also use the parking and at the time there was a total of 32 vehicles in the compound.

The housing estate in the port area, Santa Adela, earned the nickname ‘Little Venice’ during those five days of continuous rain, in which 400 litres per square metre was recorded. The locals have been demanding that the authorities do something about the inadequate and obsolete infrastructure and this wet nightmare only served as an embarrassing I-told-you-so for the Mayor.

Down on Playa Granada, firemen had to break down parts of the paseo low wall to let trapped water drain out – and there was a lot of draining out to do. Probably one of the most popular photos was one of a local person making his way down the main street in his canoe.
So, can this disaster be put down to abnormally high rainfall, or can the incompetence of Man also be included in the blame game? The answer is affirmative; Man is also responsible, because as it has been freely admitted by the Town Hall and experts, the demise of cultivation on the vega, which runs behind both Santa Adela and Playa Granada, has been a prime culprit here.

It should be remembered that the vega is merely reclaimed land from the sea, or better said, an estuary that silted up and became arable land, with a propensity to flood, which is why it was ideal for Motril’s sugar-cane cultivation. But with the demise of this traditional crop, the land has not only lost vegetation with a high absorption capacity, but irrigation infrastructure, such as drainage channels and embankments have been abandoned, falling into total disrepair.

Urban expansion in La Herradura, Almuñécar, Salobreña and Motril has spilled out onto parts of the municipalities which are, for the above reason perhaps, not suitable urban development and it is only when Nature reminds us of the function of a flood valley that we are brought face to face with this uncomfortable fact.
Talking of high water, locals wasted their combined breath trying to warn the regional and provincial authorities that it was silly to build the beach back up with sand in November, with the Spring and Autumn gales lying between then and summer. A total of 71,000 cubic metres of sand was moved by lorry from Playa Cable to Playa de Granada… for nothing, because it has now gone, thank
(Photos courtesy of Infocostatropical and Tropen)
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