Expat in Spain forced to move as town hall fails to provide water

LAST UPDATED: 20 Jul, 2012 @ 12:17
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Expat in Spain forced to move as town hall fails to provide water

EXCLUSIVE by Eloise Horsfield

AN expat is being forced to fork out nearly €3,000 relocating to the coast for the summer after her water supply dried up.

Jennifer Knowles, 34, has been left without water for weeks after Coin Town Hall failed to provide for her.

This is despite the Irish expat paying the town hall €1,500 to be put on the grid six years ago.

“For half the year, the supply of water is fine, but last summer was a nightmare,” explained Knowles, a social media specialist, who lives in the hamlet of La Carreta.

“Since this Easter we have had around 60 days without water and we have been lucky to get our 3,000 litre tank filled once a week.

“It normally gets to the stage where we have to eat out or buy plastic plates and utensils to avoid washing up.

“We are also having to farm out our washing and showers are a big no-no, so you can imagine how much we are enjoying the current heat.”

She continued: “The worst thing is, despite not getting any water your bills don’t get any cheaper because there is still a standard charge.”

But Dubliner Knowles, who moved to Spain 13 years ago, says complaints to the town hall have been ignored.

There have even been protests at the town hall involving a group of neighbours in a similar predicament.

“I have got nowhere,” she said. “When you complain they say there is not a problem. We feel like they treat us like idiots.”

Antonia Sanchez from Coin Town Hall’s water department initially tried to insist there was no problem and that all the area’s meters were full.

She tried to fob it off on the Guardia Civil’s 24-hour plumber before admitting: “La Carreta is a rural area that is beyond the town hall’s normal water coverage.

“All those who are signed up are aware of that.

“The town hall cannot provide water 24 hours a day, with the correct pressure, for those houses outside the main network.”

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11 COMMENTS

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  1. “When you complain they say there is not a problem. We feel like they treat us like idiots.”

    Silly expats moaning about trivial things again lol. Perhaps Ms Knowles should have used social media more effectively to highlight the issue? A frustrating situation that is the norm in Spain unfortunately. A denuncia is the next step. Then get a borehole put in.

  2. Stating the obvious, I did use Social Media in a very polite manner to ask the PP for help as they control Coín but there’s not a lot you can do when the page owners ban comments! Neither did I get responses on email direct to the townhall.
    If you pay for a service, you should receive it and as for boreholes- try getting a licence for that from the townhall!!!
    Interestingly, people who have never had to be even a day without water simply don’t understand how essential it is and how much it is taken for granted. I invited the mayor of Coín to swap houses for the Summer, needless to say, I never got a response.
    BTW – its not just expats complaining about the situation, it is affecting the whole community of Coín only the Spanish are possibly more inclined to accept certain situations but in this case they too are complaining.
    I bet you would accept 60 days without water in the U.K. – there’d be riots left, right and centre!

  3. A solucion that means nothing gets resolved. My point is that people pay thousands for installation as the town water connection is not the only fee. There is then installation of 100’s of metres of pipe, hire machinery etc. Not just me, many surrounding neighbours. If we say nothing then no one thinks there is a problem. Again, it’s easy to judge when you don’t have a problem!

  4. Watershears in the campo (which we have 6 of) cost 2-8.000 euros a piece, and we pay every year for having them, and we pay a very little sum of money using water, so there are expences for the comfort of having enough water all year around, but that comes with living in Paradise. We have also been without water in the pipes for weeks, but as we were told by the locals that’s why most people have the big watertanks for in the first place. The cheapest solution is to get a bigger tank for when you do have water in the pipes.
    Yes, its not for free having water in the Campo, but on the other hand, the expenses for heating in winter is minimal.

  5. “living in Paradise”

    It’s paraside Ms Knowles, Ann said so.

    “the expenses for heating in winter is minimal.”

    Totally inaccurate statement. Inland Spain ca be freezing in winter, with snow and ice the norm. Ann has clearly not lived in Spain very long to make such a comment.

  6. So, if it’s 2 to 8,000 a piece, I could potentially be spending 48,000 Euro if I buy 6! – NO WAY – I’ll take my chances with the townhall : ) or buy an apartment on the coast for that! From what Ann said, she inherited her tank(s) when she bought her property so has not had the cost, just the convenience of not having to worry about it.

    Although I will admit my heating costs are only about 500 EUR a year after the 8,500 Eur biomas wood pellet burner with radiators installation fee! So compared to Norway – perhaps that is paradise.

    “Ann has clearly not lived in Spain very long to make such a comment.” Can’t believe I’m agreeing with you Fred but wait until Spanish bureaucracy or some silly laws catch up on her. We’ve all been there at some time.

    Hot hot dry Summers where the whole garden dies and the land moves and cold, icy wet Winters (normally) is not my idea of paradise but I didn’t move to Spain looking for paradise so there’s no let down there. I can leave my current quest for water from the townhall as they have been so good as to supply it for the last 16 days (while I was away on holiday) but long may it continue. Maybe my social media campaign gave it a little push and the locals complaining at the townhall – who knows – but I shall enjoy it while it lasts

  7. Hi,

    Second hand 5000 litre water tanks can be got for under 300 euros… New around 800 euros… A pump and very simple switching system, from mains to tank use, around 300 euros… So realistically, you could have a reserve of 15,000 litres of water for less than 1500 euros… Add a bit on for the work to fit and transport and I guess you’d be at around 2000 euros. Even if pressure is really low from mains a litre a minute over 24 hours means 1440 litres per 24 hours… It really does make sense out in the campo to prepare for the inevitable water cuts and shortages….

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