10 Mar, 2024 @ 15:05
1 min read

Drought latest in Spain: Has this weekend’s rain helped relieve the pressure on Malaga’s reservoirs?

Reservoirs continue drying up despite heavy weekend storms bringing torrential rain across Spain
Cordon Press image

WET weekend weather has left the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada frosted with snow and brought much needed precipitation to Malaga province, overflowing streams and supplementing parched reservoirs — though drought conditions persist. 

Heavy precipitation since Friday boosted water supply throughout the province, registered the first significant snowfall this year in the mountains of the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, and caused previously dry waterways like the Turon river to overflow.

Despite this, Malaga’s reservoirs remain at historic lows, with every dam recording water volumes of less than one-third capacity. 

The La Concepcion dam, whose reservoir feeds the Costa del Sol towns of Marbella, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Mijas, Benahavis, Estepona, Casares, and Manilva, reached 17.49 cubic hectometres of water Sunday, or 30.4% of its total capacity of 57.54 cubic hectometres, up from 26.52% last week

Malaga’s two largest dams by reservoir capacity, Guadalteba and Guadalhorce, measured slight increases after the weekend rains. 

Guadalteba — which is linked to Guadalhorce via a system of several dams along the Turon, Guadalteba, and Guadalhorce rivers — increased from 31.13 to 31.31 cubic hectometres over the course of the week, while Guadalhorce increased from 15.68 to 16.87 cubic hectometres. 

However both dams remain low, registering 20.42% and 13.42% capacity respectively. 

Reservoirs continue drying up despite heavy weekend storms bringing torrential rain across Spain
Despite heavy rains over the weekend, Malaga’s reservoirs remain at historic lows. Cordon Press image

The total quantity of water dammed in the Malaga province before the storm on March 4 was 98.0 cubic hectometres, increasing to 104.89 on March 10, an increase of about 7%. 

However, despite the rain, overall water levels remain alarmingly low — during the same week in 2023 Malaga’s reservoirs held 229 cubic hectometres, or 37.18% of their total combined capacity, whereas on Sunday they were at 17.15% capacity. 

To conserve water, Malaga’s inhabitants must continue to limit their water consumption to 160 litres per day — a restriction that’s been in place since February

Some reservoirs elsewhere in Andalucia increased significantly over the weekend. 

In Granada, reservoir volume increased from 69.06 cubic hectometres to 71.27 over the course of the week, together holding 45.03% of their total capacity. 

On the other hand, Almeria’s reservoirs were largely spared the rain’s welcome relief and the province remains in a critical scenario.

Their combined volume decreased since last week from 18.79 to 18.61, currently standing at just 8.43% total capacity. 


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