22 Mar, 2024 @ 07:00
1 min read

Protests over swimming pool bans in southern Spain: Locals fume after government prioritises hotels over private homes amid ongoing drought

Real Example Of Swimming Pool Construction Javea Costa Blanca

BANS on filling private swimming pools this summer saw protests in Malaga as residents and homeowners fume at what they perceive to be discrimination by the authorities. 

A coalition of local businesses and members of communities came together against a controversial recent drought decree issued by the Junta de Andalucía. 

The decree prohibits filling or refilling of communal swimming pools this summer – however much to their chagrin, hotels are exempt and can fill their pools away to their hearts’ content. 

This has led to an outcry among various sectors, including gardening, pool maintenance, lifeguarding, and tourist rentals, who labelled the decree a ‘discriminatory distribution of the region’s scarce water resources.’

The protestors led with the rallying cry: “Without gardens or pools, you lead us to ruin.” 

In a statement, they criticised the Junta for ‘promoting a series of discriminatory limitations on the use’ of water while simultaneously preventing irrigation and filling of swimming pools in communities of owners while leaving ‘its free use, without any limitation, to the hostelry’.

British teenager may never walk again after smashing head-first into shallow end of Magaluf beach club swimming pool on Spain's Mallorca
Local communities and businesses are outraged that bans filling swimming pools will not extend to hotels, which are free to refill them as much as they like over the summer

The latest drought decree has particularly hit the gardening sector, with restrictions on watering since October leading to a decline in business and the deterioration of green spaces. 

“If there is no garden to maintain, then there is no need of a gardener,” the protestors pointed out.

Meanwhile, pool maintenance companies report a staggering 70% drop in revenue as the restrictions coincide with the start of the season. 

The ban has also cast a shadow over the ever-burgeoning tourist rental sector, with a noticeable increase in reservation cancellations.

Business owners and workers alike are not just worried about the immediate economic impact but also the long-term environmental consequences. 

The loss of green areas could exacerbate the urban heat island effect, making the city hotter and less hospitable. 


Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
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