August 2017 August 2017 - Page 11

News Axarquía on drought alert Drought came one step closer last month when a formal alert was issued for the largest reservoir in the province of Málaga. Hidrosur, which manages Lake Viñuela in the Axarquía, said that the level had dropped to 54.5 hectometres, just under a third of its total capacity. Experts say that the situation is only likely to deteriorate with 100,000 hectares of crops to be irrigated and a population which doubles in mid- summer. Current use, covering farming and drinking water, is around one hectare a week, which means supplies could only be guaranteed for a year if there were to be no rain. Even if normal rainfall is experienced, there is talk of restrictions coming into force in mid-September. However, the Junta de Andalucía has promised that a drought will not be declared until the end of the hydrological year on September 30. Mayors of the Axarquía towns which depend on water from Lake Viñuela have been critical of the way the impending crisis is being managed. Francisco Salado in Rincón de la Victoria said measures are not taken when needed, while Vélez-Málaga’s Antonio Moreno Ferrer criticised lack of action to stop leakages. Gregorio Campos, president of the east coast association of municipalities, the Mancommunidad, claimed that only 40 per cent of the remaining water is actually available for use because the rest, he says, is mud. Campos, a former mayor of Iznate, seemed to reflect the general feeling when he expressed continuing concern about the effects on agriculture, but added that town halls are now worrying about supplying their populations. The Guardia Civil has issued a warning about necklaces and bracelets made of seeds which are being sold at markets and by street traders. They include Huayruro or Adrina seeds which are round and coloured red with a black stain, and which are highly toxic. Their ingestion can lead to hallucinations, poisoning and even death, and anyone finding such jewellery should report them immediately. The last time a drought was declared was in 2008 when 18 municipalities in the Axarquía were affected. The Environment Ministry then announced an €11 million investment in emergency measures to prevent the situation happening again. However, less than €7 million was spent and most of the projects never came to fruition. Nerja is preparing for the town’s 21st annual swim in the sea off Burriana beach. There are seven age groups, ranging from youngsters to veterans, in the event planned for Sunday, August 6, with the youngest taking on a 500 metre course and adults swimming 1,200 metres. Participants, who will be limited in numbers, should register at www.doraslchip.es before 2.00pm on August 3. Salobreña beach protest They say rubbish containers are full and the beaches are in a “shameful” state with weeds growing, but no action is taken. The protestors add that while the popular Peñon beach is better maintained, the others have no Annual swim Flip-flop alert The Consumer and Nutrition Agency has issued a warning about a brand of men’s flip-flops being sold in some Primark stores which have been recalled in the UK. The alert concerns crisene, a chemical used in their manufacture which, in large amounts, has been associated with the onset of cancer. All stores have been ordered to remove the shoes from their shelves. Over a thousand local people took to the streets of Salobreña last month to protest about the state of the town’s beaches. They are in the process of formally constituting a new pressure group to demand improved services and facilities. Carrying banners reading, “We pay taxes, we want results,” they marched from the beach to the town hall where a manifesto outlining their complaints was read out. They claim that a 10 per cent rise in Salobreña’s IBI tax has not resulted in any improvements, “quite the reverse.” Necklace warning Minimum lessons lifeguards and broken showers. “There are first and second class beaches,” they claim. The group have warned that if there is no improvement in beach services, cleaning and lighting, they will continue with further protests in August. 9 Tráfico is considering changing the rules governing driving tests. One proposal is that candidates must have taken a minimum number of lessons before sitting the theory and practical exams. The roads authority has also revealed that 73% of candidates fail their first driving test which, it says, contributes to a long waiting time for test dates which is anticipated to reach six months by September. See Smalltalk on page 22