What are the current water restrictions on the Costa del Sol?

What are the current water restrictions on the Costa del Sol? © Michelle Chaplow
What are the current water restrictions on the Costa del Sol?

What are the current water restrictions on the Costa del Sol?

Updated 26-05-2024

Water restrictions have been in place on the western Costa del Sol since October 2023 and on the eastern Costa del Sol and La Axarquia since 2022.

The restrictions, which affect residents and tourists, are set by the Town Hall, which in turn is directed by the regional government and the Drought Management Commission of the Andalucian Mediterranean Water Basin.

The use of drinking water is currently FORBIDDEN in the following cases:

  • Filling private swimming pools. (See below, to be relaxed on 01-June-2024)
  • Washing cars [except in an approved car wash - non approved ones are closed].
  • Ornamental fountains that do not have a closed water circuit.
  • Use of public showers [e.g. on beaches].
  • Any other non-essential use of water.

Watering of gardens, parks or green areas, both public and private, is reduced to a maximum of 3 days per week in some munucipalities and it is prohibited altogether in others.

Refilling Swimming Pools on Costa del Sol

As far as swimming pools are concerned, the filling (or topping up) of swimming pools with fresh water is currently only permitted for hotels, campsites, sports clubs, health centres and public municipal pools. However from the 1st June 2024, this prohibition for private and "community pools", i.e. pools owned by residents of a block of flats or a housing estate will be relaxed.

Some communities had already taken the view that a pool can be open, but cannot be topped up with drinking water. Note that filling a swimming pool with non-portable water is complicated from a health legislation point of view.

The Mayor of Estepona, José María García Urbano, in response to a question at the 'Sur Water Forum' on Friday 19-04-2024, stated that. "We never find justification for some swimming pools to be open while others are not. In Estepona we are clear that the pools will be authorised". It took a month for this to be officially authorised.

What are the current water restrictions on the Campo de Gibraltar?

Campo de Gibraltar which is the area to the west of Costa de Sol including Sotogrande, Guadiaro, San Roque, La Linea, Los Barios, Algeciras, Jimaea de la Frontera, Castella de la Frontera and San Martin de Tesrillo has similar restrictions to the western Costa del Sol.

The use of drinking water is currently FORBIDDEN in the following cases:

  • Filling private swimming pools. (See below, to be relaxed on 01-June-2024)
  • Washing cars [except in an approved car wash - non approved ones are closed].
  • Ornamental fountains that do not have a closed water circuit.
  • Use of public showers [e.g. on beaches].
  • Any other non-essential use of water.

There are water presure reductions from 06.00 to 23.00 hrs and water cuts in many areas from 23.00 to 06.00 hrs.

Refilling Swimming Pools in Campo de Gibraltar

Following the line of the Costa del Sol the water company Arcgisa has authorised, from 1st June 2024 the refilling of the 7.500 private pools in the seven municipalities under its jurisdiction. Inflatable swimming pools will continue to be prohibited as the relaxation is only for those with water recirculation systems.

The use of showers on beaches will depend on each town council and only those with a push button can be authorised.

 

160, 200 or 225 litres per day per inhabitant?

Total drinking water consumption is limited to an average of 160 or 225 litres per day per inhabitant, depending on the municipality. This is not a limit on the water metered by each household or business. It is a limit on the total amount of drinking water that fills the town's large storage tanks, divided by the registered population. As a reference, the average person in Andalucia uses 129 litres of domestic drinking water per day. The higher consumption limits of 160, 200 or 225 litres per inhabitant per day was set because it has to include all the drinking water consumed by business, commerce, hotels, shops, offices and non-resident holiday homes.

As a result of these restrictions, municipal water companies are reducing the water pressure and turning off water in many areas between midnight and 06.00 hrs. Hotels and apartment blocks are generally unaffected as they have their own storage tanks which are replenished during the day. Individual houses without tanks and especially those on higher ground experience cuts and/or low pressure.

Read our detailed and updated water shortage news chronology.

For more information and the background principles of water supply and demand on the Costa del Sol and Andalucia, see our Water Supply in Andalucia page.

Living in Andalucia