Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes a regular blog for Huddersfield Hub.
Back in 1995 we experienced our first raging hot summer and epic drought as we moved into our apartment.
Water was so scarce that people were seen washing in the sea and carrying bottled water into their homes.
And for us with no lift and flights of stairs, we decided to install a small tank as supplies in those days were off, sometimes for well over half a day. Hope we don’t see that again.
Here today the crisis situation continues, despite measures by some authorities making plans to obtain water, or preserve what little they have.
Some outlying villages have no water on tap, and it is brought in by tankers. (From where? I don’t know).
Estepona has applied for the building of a desalination and purification plant to collect brackish water from boreholes near the mouth of a river. Barcelona has declared a drought emergency as Catalonian reservoirs are very low!
Meanwhile, as the golf season continues in full swing with record numbers participating from around the world, a beautiful local course was recently closed down due to safety reasons after contaminated water was used to irrigate the parched greens and fairways.
Tourist officials continue to entice more and more visitors to the Costas, aiming more at those with more spending power.
And with the planned enlargement of Malaga Airport, popular resorts are set to become overcrowded here with tourists during the ever extended holiday periods.
Also, in Barcelona and parts of Majorca the locals are up in arms with swarms of people, especially noisy, unruly groups seeking the vibrant nightlife.
Some areas in Andalucia have noted that many bars have closed down probably due to younger family members reluctant to continue to run businesses.
This week I helped a friend transport some luggage and boxes into the centre of Malaga. With the low emission zone ruling in mind which should have been in place on January 1, we enquired about getting in with our ever reliable but rather old Ford.
There are 149 cities and large towns with over 50,000 inhabitants in Spain who must implement restricted entry for those with ‘B’ or no displayed discs – older more polluting vehicles.
After the research we noted the authorities have sensibly decided to enforce the law later, until after the Easter period and probably well beyond.
Those vehicles with ‘C’ or ‘ECO’ discs, along with long established residents, will be allowed to travel freely throughout the city. Rule breakers can be fined €200.
A recent report showed that Spain was one of the cheapest countries in Europe to live. We would agree on some items like fuel, certain foods and eating out.
But the drought, for example, has caused the cost of olives to dramatically rise. There are many other basic commodities similar, but generally it’s cheaper. When we compare dining out in the UK compared to here, the price difference is dramatic!
Finally, those living in Spain for over 15 years can now vote in the UK national elections but not the European elections; and France supreme court has cast aside the cancelling of the stupid 90-day rule which Spain was hoping would be implemented. Spain will continue to get rid of it and lobby the EU in Brussels.
Catch up on Brian’s previous blogs HERE