ALTHOUGH Axarquia is a notoriously dry area, it holds some 80 per cent of tropical fruit, such as mango and avocado, produced in Andalucia, placing significant pressure on the La Viñuela dam, the largest in the region.
Now, the Junta de Andalucia regional government is exploring ways to reduce that strain, reserving the water in La Viñuela for human consumption, and relying on subsurface and recycled wastewater to irrigate some 10,000 hectares of cultivated land.
The possibility has already been mentioned to local communities, such as Algarrobo, home to 820 farmers with 754 hectares of land, where the plan would involve using water from the local water treatment plant, plus the River Algarrobo.
Local environmental chief Jose Manuel Gil has described the proposal as “madness,” and aims to fight the measures. Gil points out that 23 cubic hectometres of water from La Viñuela are currently set aside for agricultural use each year, with 22.5 cubic hectometres reserved for human consumption.
He argues that irrigation has never exceeded 22.5 cubic hectometres, while the urban and rural populations of Velez-Malaga, Rincon de la Victoria, Algarrobo, Torrox, Benamocarra, Benamargosa, Iznate, Cútar, El Borge, Almáchar, Totalán, Moclinejo and Macharaviaya, do not require more than 15 cubic hectometres, rendering the suggested initiative pointless.