The comarca of the Axarquía is getting bone dry yet the summer has only just begun. Its largest reservoir has been left gasping.
La Viñuela reservoir supplies drinking water for 14 municipalities and irrigation water for 6,200 hectares of cultivated land. Such is the situation that the Junta has just reduced the crop, water quota to just 1,500 cu/m per hectare, which will remain in force until the 30th of September, in order to guarantee domestic water needs.
Some farmers no longer have access to irrigation water for their mangos and avocados because they have already used up their quota that is supposed to last until the end of September.
These farmers are in the areas of Vélez-Málaga (Real Alto and Arroyo Salinas) and Torrox (Sindicato de Torrox) which between them amount to some 600 hectares. The irrigation association Arroyo Salinas has been without water since the 15th of June. Only those farmer that managed to fill their water tanks before being cut off are able to eke out their dwindling water supply.
The problem is, if it does not rain (almost to a biblical degree) during September, come the 1st of October all irrigation water gets stopped in order for there to be enough for domestic needs.
But there is another problem; salt water entering the water table – some wells are pumping up salt water which kills trees as assuredly as having no water at all. Furthermore, when the rains come, there is no guarantee that it will wash the salt water out of the water table.
The Vice Chairman of the Asociación Española de Tropicales, Domingo Medina, describes the situation as “dramatic, agonising and a disaster.”
So, what do the ecologist associations have to say? The Gabinete de Estudios de La Naturaleza de La Axarquía (GENA) – Ecologistas en Acción say that they have been warning farmers and the authorities for the last five years that this could come to pass; i.e., a ‘hydraulic collapse,’ because of the uncontrolled increase in sub-tropical plantations.
(News: Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia – Source & Photo: Sur/Nito Salas)