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Cities in Spain's Andalusia set to have water restrictions over summer

The Local Spain
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Cities in Spain's Andalusia set to have water restrictions over summer
Andalusian president Juanma Moreno has called on Spain's central government and the EU to help with his region's ongoing drought. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP)

The Andalusian president has warned that Málaga, Seville and Córdoba will have drought-related restrictions to water usage over the summer months unless there are “at least 30 days of rain in a row” beforehand.

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Despite being in the midst of winter and rain being more frequent at present, Andalusian President Juanma Moreno is warning many of his region’s 8.5 million inhabitants to expect water cuts over the summer months.

“We’re facing an extreme situation and it’s not about being alarming, but about being realistic.” Moreno told journalists before meeting a committee of experts.

“We all have to make an enormous effort to restrict water consumption”. 

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Of the eight provincial capitals, Moreno stated that currently the plan is for Seville, Córdoba and Málaga to be the big cities which have water restrictions over the summer months, that is if it doesn’t "rain for at least 30 days in a row".  

Even though there has been rain in the region in December and January, dam water levels are at 20 percent or lower across Andalusia. 

On January 29th, Andalusia’s regional government will approve its fourth drought decree, confirming the type of water restrictions that will be implemented in Seville, Málaga and Córdoba.

A total of €200 million in funds have been allocated to the measures, €50 million of which will go to the agricultural sector.

Fifty-eight percent of Andalusian municipalities, which account for 5 million people, already have some form of water restriction in place, from reducing taps’ water pressure at night to restricting water use for pools, fountains, public showers, car washes and parks. 

So far the focus of the drought measures has been mainly on rural areas, but Moreno’s announcement marks the very real prospect of proper water usage limitations in Andalusia’s big cities.

Málaga, for example, is yet to suffer any water restrictions despite having one of the worst water deficits in the region.

In Córdoba there have never been water cuts and in Seville it hasn't happened since the 1990s.

This is Andalusia’s longest sequía (drought in Spanish) since the 1960s.

Almería and Cádiz are the regions with the lowest water reserve levels, ranging from 9 to 15 percent of full capacity. 

The Andalusian leader stressed that his region’s drought is a “matter of national and international concern” calling on the central government to intervene and for it to also be addressed in the EU Parliament, as “Andalusia is the region in Europe that's worst affected by climate change”. 

Andalusia exports almost half of Spain’s total in fruits and vegetables, and even though it's climate is renowned for being hot and sunny, 2023 was its driest year in three decades, with rainfall 45 percent below the annual average.

Spain’s government has already invested €1.2 billion in improving the supply of drinking water in Andalusia, and there are imminent plans to install portable desalination plants, reopen wells and collect water from underground rivers. 

The idea of water being shipped into Andalusia as has also been suggested in Catalonia - the other region of Spain struggling with a terrible drought currently - has not been ruled out.

READ MORE: Catalonia imposes restrictions and may ship in water to combat drought

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