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Andalucía ‘Not Ruling Out’ Water Tanker Ships

A water tanker in the Mediterranean

The Andalucían Government has not ruled out the use of ships as a last resort for water supply in its new ‘Drought Plus’ strategy

In a press conference this week, following a meeting of the Council, the Andalucían Government agreed to limit the use of boats to transport water to supply the population.

Pictured left, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Carmen Crespo said, “The boat is the last stage if it were necessary, we will try to ensure that it is not necessary.”

Crespo specified the circumstances for ‘their’ use, adding: “If no drop of water falls”, which would lead us to having to use them in summer in some areas”, before identifying Malaga and Malaga as “critical areas of our basins like the Campo de Gibraltar.”

The Minister argued that it is up to “the operators”, in reference to the municipal water companies, who are responsible for financing the hiring of these boats.

“They finance the operators, promotes the Board,” he stated, then pointing out that “we have asked the Secretary of State (for the Environment) to support the operators.”

Before the ships, the measures of the Andalucían Government, according to the counsellor’s explanations, are aimed at: “The expansion of desalination plants, surveys, tertiary services that are injected into the aquifers”, to delve into the use of ships to supply water to the population that “I hope we don’t have to come to that case,” although he then acknowledged that “we will probably have to use it next summer.”

Andalucía is currently suffering from a severe drought

The region has been experiencing below-average rainfall for several years, and reservoirs are at critically low levels. The drought is having a significant impact on agriculture, tourism, and the environment. According to Acosol, the Costa del Sol’s water management entity, the area may be facing a ‘real risk of water shortage’ by summer 2024

As of December 2023, the average reservoir level in Andalucía is 24%, which is significantly lower than the historical average of 57%. Some reservoirs are even lower, with some water authorities reporting levels below 10%. This is causing significant water shortages for agriculture and domestic use.

The drought is also having a negative impact on tourism. Many tourists are drawn to Andalucía for its beaches and its warm climate. However, the lack of water is making it difficult for some hotels and businesses to operate, and this is leading to cancellations and lost revenue.

The drought is also having a negative impact on the environment. The lack of water is causing rivers and streams to dry up, and this is harming aquatic ecosystems. The drought is also exacerbating the risk of wildfires, which are a major threat to the region’s forests and wildlife.

The Andalucían government is taking a number of measures to try to alleviate the drought. These measures include:

  • Implementing water restrictions for households and businesses
  • Investing in water infrastructure, such as desalination plants and reservoirs
  • Encouraging the use of water-efficient irrigation techniques
  • Educating the public about the importance of conserving water

The Andalucían government is also calling on the Spanish government to declare a state of emergency and allocate more resources to address the drought.

The first significant rainfall occurred from December 4 to 10, 2023. The region received heavy rains, especially in the western and some central parts of Andalucía. This rainfall was much-needed, as the area had been experiencing a severe drought for several years.

However, the rainfall was not enough to completely alleviate the drought, and Andalucía remains in a state of emergency.

The weather forecast for the rest of December 2023 is uncertain. There is a chance of more rain, but it is also possible that the weather will be dry. The local government is urging the public to continue to conserve water, even if there is more rain.


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