BRIT tourists face a holiday nightmare as hundreds of swimming pools in Spain could close this summer.
A wide-ranging regional water ban is set to be introduced for Malaga and surrounding areas as the region grapples with oppressive temperatures.
The strict measures restrict water consumption – and have already led to the first closures of baths in the popular travel destination.
According to reports, the authorities were preparing for the introduction of the water saving plan in September.
But as summer weather in Spain heats up to a sweltering 42°C, the restrictions are coming into force faster than expected – putting poolside activities at risk.
Restrictions were put in place last week in areas that depend on water from the La Viñuela reservoir.
The ban includes using water to clean streets, fountains, public showers, and to fill or refill swimming pools.
That means hotels in the region will struggle to fill their pools for the high season.
Accordingly InSpainNewsThe restrictions have led to the closure of the first swimming pools in the La Axarquía region of Malaga.
According to the Spanish government, there are currently 78,606 swimming pools in the province of Málaga.
Of these, 2,940 are in Vélez-Málaga, while Malaga City and Marbella have 5,926 and 10,744 respectively.
Mercedes González Postigo, from the Association of Real Estate Managers of Malaga, told local media that the region was facing an uphill battle.
She said: “The owners’ associations are obliged to fill up five percent of the water in the swimming pools with drinking water every day.”
“Without potable water, they have to resort to non-potable water.
“This water must then comply with the swimming pool ordinance. Finding non-potable water that we can use is not easy.”
“We might succeed, but with high demand it could take up to 20 days.”
Official statistics show that more than 12 million international tourists visit the region every year.
And as a result of the ban, hundreds of the pools they use will be at risk, the Olive Press reported.
Joaquín Villanova, the mayor of Alhaurín de la Torre (Málaga), said the water ban will be signed in the coming days.
He said, “It’s something that has to be done.”
“This is a measure that was gradually implemented in the community.”
Just last year, Costa del Sol city councils shut down beach showers in midsummer due to the worsening drought.
At the time, Velez-Malaga Mayor Antonio Moreno Ferrer said: “It is not an easy decision to make this decision in the middle of summer, since our beaches are full of locals and visitors, and we regret the inconvenience this may cause.”
“But we are facing a critical situation and any action that can help mitigate the effects of the drought must be taken, starting with local councils as role models.”
This comes as British holidaymakers were warned of a “level 1 heat alert” across Spain as a muggy 42C is heading our way.
According to the Spanish weather agency AEMET, the first hot heatwave of the summer will hit popular holiday resorts such as Benidorm and the islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.
Temperatures of between 38°C and 40°C are expected on Saturday – but the sweltering heatwave will continue to rise in the days that follow.
By Tuesday, AEMET expects a high of 42C, which will feel even hotter due to high humidity.
The hardest hit areas will be the Balearic Islands: Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Cabrera.
“We are currently registering temperatures that are slightly above normal, a degree or two above normal,” said María José Guerrero, a spokeswoman for AEMET Majorca Daily.
Spain has had a warmer than average spring and summer so far and holidaymakers have been warned of an “extremely hot” period in June.
The heat has already intensified in Spain after the country recorded its hottest spring on record and its second driest spring.