David Villodres I Málaga, (EFE) bought vats of water as measures to try to save a campaign marked by drought.
These are some of the measures that farmers in Malaga have adopted, especially in the Axarquía region, the epicenter of tropical fruit, to deal with the lack of rain, high temperatures and poor water distribution and collection infrastructure. in the region.
Although this week the long-awaited rains have irrigated the Malaga countryside, they will not be enough to alleviate the drought, which has left the swamps in an agonizing situation, with La Viñuela, the largest in Malaga, at less than 10% of its capacity. .
Measures in the face of the difficult situation of drought in the Axarquía
This situation has meant that farmers in the Axarquía have not been able to count on the supplied water from the La Viñuela reservoir since October last year, which has led them to take extraordinary measures to save their crops.
“The situation in the Axarquía is a real disaster,” Francisco Díaz, president of the Málaga Irrigation Association (APREMA), assures EFE, who risks a very dark future if “the miracle of the rain” does not arrive.
The irrigators have chosen to use the little water they have to irrigate a quarter of the cultivated land, while they have pruned and bleached the trunks of the trees to “see if they can last the summer.” “But I already tell you that they are not going to make it,” warns Díaz.
From the Axarquía Tropical Association, they point out to EFE that, in the most extreme cases, some farmers have even uprooted the avocado and mango plantation because “it is not sustainable.”
Water tanks in the absence of rain
The Guadalhorce Valley is also “on the edge of the knife”, according to the president of APREMA. Last year it already suffered from the restrictions of the drought, “but luckily it rained and it only lasted for two weeks.”
Farmers in this area have reduced their horticultural crops because they have received a smaller volume of water than other years and because these plants need continuous irrigation that the Board cannot ensure.
Some producers have even chosen to buy tanks of water, although Francisco Díaz points out that this is an “extraordinary measure” with which a very small portion of land can be irrigated and for a very short time, so it is not profitable: “It is very expensive compared to what they pay us for our products”.
Other farmers have done improvement felling between the woody crop, which consists of reducing the leaf mass of the trees so that they transpire less and need less water in order to preserve the plant, even though the production is much lower.
“What I can’t do is risk a garlic or onion crop, which costs 10,000 euros per hectare,” Joaquín Zavala, a farmer from Antequera, who has started planting almond trees because they need less water, told EFE: “If it rains they will give us something ; if it doesn’t, at least they stay.”
Zavala also points out that this year the olive harvest will be a quarter of a normal campaign and that almost all of the cereal has been lost.
The president of APREMA specifies that, although the reservoirs in the Guadalhorce area have a greater capacity than those in the Axarquía, this water does not all go to the countryside, but much of it is destined to supply the cities and another ends up evaporating or seeping through the cracks in the pipes.
The problem of the drought, maintain the farmers consulted by EFE, is not only the lack of rain but also that there are “ineffective” infrastructures, some with breaks, unable to collect and transfer the water that falls.
This is the case of the Guadalhorce-Guadalteba reservoir, it has an infrastructure that is made of “crap”, asserts the president of APREMA.
“A few days ago a siphon broke and they spent more than two weeks to fix it, leaving more than a thousand hectares without irrigating and with April temperatures,” says Díaz, who denounces that “there are siphons that lose 300-400 liters per second and the political class does not spend anything to fix it”.
The illegal wells
In the midst of a crisis due to the drought in the countryside, it has recently been learned that a court in the Malaga town of Vélez-Málaga is investigating more than a hundred people for allegedly irregular water management through clandestine wells and illegal irrigation in the Axarquía .
The investigation focuses on a series of subtropical plantations in the region and it is estimated that the damage from the illegal use of water for the cultivation of subtropical crops can reach 10 million euros, according to calculations by the Civil Guard.
On this matter, Luis Berraquero, coordinator of Greenpeace in Malaga, assures that the aquifers are “very contaminated by the use of fertilizers” and that “the illegal or illegal overexploitation of water prevents its regeneration.”
From APREMA they believe that “this is not the time to find guilty” and that some are treating people who are “trying to save their crops” as “criminals”. EFE