Malaga’s La Viñuela reservoir approaching historical minimum capacity

Three Axarquia towns close beach showers because of the drought

Image of Malaga's La Viñuela reservoir. Credit: Google maps - Tony Jesus Garcia Calvente

La Viñuela reservoir in Malaga province is approaching what will be its lowest recorded minimum level.

According to the latest data from the Red Hidrosur, as of Wednesday, July 27, La Viñuela reservoir has a current capacity of 21.42 hectometers per cubic metre, equivalent to just 13 per cent of its capacity. On this same date in 2021, it contained more than double this amount, at 45.41 hectometers per cubic metre.

Despite that figure, in November 2021, the reservoir was declared to be in critical condition and a severe shortage emergency was declared. La Viñuela is the only water supply in Malaga province to currently be in this position, The other three although presenting levels lower than in 2021, vary by one or two hectometers per cubic metre only.

In the last week, La Viñuela has reportedly lost a little less than one hectometre per cubic meter and is once again the water catchment with the worst percentage in the province. It should be remembered that it is the largest, and its surface allows for a total capacity of 164.37 hectometers per cubic metre.

In fact, the vice president of the Association of Municipalities of the Costa del Sol-Axarquia and Axaragua has assured Malaga Hoy that: “The water supply for the population is guaranteed for the summer”. He also indicated that the problems will be more serious: “at the end of the hydrological year”, and that: “we are going to reach September 30 quite tight”.

This negative outlook for the La Axarquia dam is not transferred to the rest of the reservoirs in the province. The total amount of water collected in the seven reservoirs is 286.90 hectometers per cubic metre, which places them at 47 per cent capacity.

At the end of May, the level of water collected stood at 53 per cent, which means they have only dropped by six points so far this summer. Last summer the situation was slightly better as at the end of July 2021 the amount of accumulated water totalled 304.04 hectometers per cubic meter, equivalent to 49 per cent of the total capacity.

Breaking down the individual reservoirs, the data is more positive. Four of them are at more than half capacity. La Concepcion reservoir is at 82 per cent, with 50.89 hectometers per cubic metre of water. Its situation is slightly better than last year, as is the Guadalhorce, which currently holds 45.45 hectometers per cubic metre.

These represent 36 per cent of the total since the said reservoir is one of the largest in the province. Among the group of large surfaces is the Guadalteba reservoir, which, with a capacity to collect 153.30 hectometers per cubic metre, stands at 104.17. This figure is very positive, meaning the second largest dam in Malaga is at 68 per cent of its capacity.

Both the Casasola and Limonero reservoirs have a capacity and conditions that are very similar. They currently contain half the water they can collect, the first is at 55 per cent, and the second at 48 per cent, and their surface is around 21 hectometers per cubic metre. Therefore, these two small reservoirs are holding about 11 hectometers per cubic metre of water, figures similar to those of the previous year.

Finally, the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir, whose size is halfway between large and small surfaces, has a possible capacity of 66.49 cubic hectometres. It currently holds 42.17, which equates to 63 per cent.

With the high season approaching, Malaga’s water catchments face August with 42.06 hectometers per cubic metre having been consumed since the beginning of June.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at