Axarquia is in the middle of a drought with its main reservoir, La Viñuela at only 30% of its capacity yet farmland owners continue to plant more irrigated crops.
Take the case of a farmer who is building a large irrigation pond on his land, moving a lot of hillside in the process.
The work on the farm in question, which is Finca Bellavista de Chilches, has been reported to the Environmental Department of the Junta by the ecologist group, GENA-Ecologists in Acción. Intensive earth-moving work had been carried out with heavy machinery yet the landowner only had a minor-works licence when the Policía Local went round to check it out.
Furthermore, there is an illegal well on the property; i.e., drilled without any licence or consent from the relative authorities, with which the owner intended to fill the irrigation pond.
GENA-Ecologistas en Acción calculates that the pond is designed to hold 2.5 million litres, situated within a barranco, blocking a storm-water tributary for the Arroyo Santillán.
The ecologists consider that this construction presents a danger for people living below it as the earthen walls of such ponds are not strong enough to hold back the pressure of the water after heavy rainfall, which both weakens the walls and overloads with the pond. .
Editorial comment: There is a subtropical fruit bubble at the moment, which is enticing farmers to plant more trees despite the insufficiency in rainfall and the debilitation of the water table.
(News: Chilches, Axarquia, Costa Tropical, Malaga, Andalucia)