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DRINKING WATER FOUNTAINS IN MÁLAGA
In this post we want to offer a tool for travellers to find drinking water fountains in the city of Málaga. By drinking water from public fountains we reduce the consumption of bottled water and, therefore, of plastic.
Before we start we have to say that Malaga is one of the Andalusian capitals with less fountains per inhabitant. We have had a hard time locating the public fountains in the city, as most of the old ones have disappeared or their water is no longer drinkable.
A MAP OF MÁLAGA WITH THE FOUNTAINS OF DRINKING AND FREE WATER
When we travel we spend many hours in the street and, due to ignorance or convenience, we usually buy bottles of water. In this article we offer you a map of drinking fountains and water fountains in the city of Malaga.
The public water supply in Malaga has a good quality and pleasant taste. It is of better quality than some bottled waters. All the fountains on the map below are public, freely accessible and free.
Malaga has quality water, but few public fountains
We cannot guarantee that all fountains are in use. Their maintenance depends on the City Council of Malaga. If we compare with cities like Granada, Cordoba or Cadiz, we can state that Malaga has few fountains per inhabitant. Almost all the locations are exact, in cases where they are approximate, this is indicated on the map sheet. Use the Google Maps application which comes installed by default with Android. Navigate to locations or simply search for nearby fountains by activating the GPS.
But where does the water in Malaga come from, read on 👇
HISTORY OF THE WATER OF MALAGA
How Malaga was supplied with water in Antiquity
Like any human settlement in antiquity, the location was determined by the proximity of water. The Phoenicians chose this place because of the proximity of the Guadalmedina river, the protection of the mountains and the shelter from the storms of the bay of Malaga. But above all, both the Phoenicians and the Romans dug wells that reached a shallow water table that crossed the entire subsoil of the city.
Another way of obtaining water was by collecting rainwater in cisterns of varying sizes. But in addition, the proximity to the mountains allowed the bloom of many small springs and the construction of water mines.
The water of Malaga in the Middle Ages
We have a testimony from a traveller, al-Idrisi (the Arab of Nubia), who describes Malaga in the 12th century. As well as extolling its commerce and beauty, he tells us that “The inhabitants drink water from wells; this water is almost at the surface of the earth, abundant and sweet. There is also a river that only flows during the winter and spring because it is not a permanent watercourse”. This is confirmed by the archaeological works that document these wells in each dwelling. The 16th century Apeo y repartimiento books indicate that some dwellings even had small wells to extract underground water. Unlike in Granada, in Malaga hardly any cisterns supplied by irrigation ditches have been found.
The water from the conquest to the 20th century
The water supply did not change much after the Castilian conquest of the city. The wells continued to function. In addition to domestic wells, there were wells for common use in streets and squares. The toponymy is a good witness to their presence in the Christian era: Pozo Street, Pozos Dulces, Pozo del Rey, Pozos Blancos, Pozo Máximo.
In the 16th century Christians began to equip the city with fountains. They were first placed at the city gates. Later, others were built inside the city and in private homes, although they could never compare with the work carried out in Granada. In the same sixteenth century the first irrigation channel was built to supply the public fountains, religious or public buildings. This water conduction collected water from the springs of Almendral del Rey and La Culebra.
At the end of the 18th century the construction of the San Telmo Aqueduct was completed. This important engineering work supplied drinking water to most of the fountains in Malaga. At the same time, 50 new public and private fountains were built. One of the fountains related to the aqueduct works was the Pilar de los Cristos. It was designed in 1790 by the same architect as the aqueduct, Martín del Aldehuela. Today it is preserved and in use with its two fountain masks.
Well into the 20th century, different infrastructures allowed running water to reach the houses, so that the original use of the fountains was relegated to the background. This was probably the turning point from which the historic fountains of Malaga began to disappear.
WATER IN MÁLAGA TODAY
Where does the water consumed in Malaga today come from?
Where does it come from?
The water currently consumed in Malaga comes from the reservoirs of Viñuela, Guadalteba, Guadalhorce, Conde de Guadalhorce, Concepción and Pilones. On the other hand EMASA (the municipal water company) has a desalination plant. This water is stored in large reservoirs that guarantee a constant supply.
Water quality in Malaga
How does it taste?
In 2018 the TV programme “El Comidista”, on La Sexta, carried out a blind tasting with one of the few water sommeliers in Spain. Malaga came out well with a 6 out of 10. Faustino described Malaga water as “soft (with few minerals), free of odours, without particles in suspension, easy to drink and very light”. Along the same lines, the Consumers’ Organisation (OCU) stated in one of its studies that tap water from Cordoba, Jaen, Malaga had a “very good” quality.
But how is it really mineralised?
The truth is that Malaga tap water slightly exceeds the mineral levels stipulated for soft water. Calcium carbonate values exceed 100 mg/l as of 2019, so it can be considered hard water. This does not mean that it is unfit for consumption. It is a water at the limit of mineralisation between soft and hard and with an excellent taste. Limescale problems are more related to washing clothes and use of household appliances.
“Malaga water has an excellent taste, but it is somewhat hard.”
Why drink water from fountains?
The World Charter for Sustainable Tourism (emanating from the World Summit on Sustainable Tourism 2015) reads as follows:
CITES “Improve water quality by reducing consumption, avoiding pollution, eliminating discharges and minimising the production of hazardous materials and chemicals.”
When we drink water from public water supplies we are reducing our consumption of raw materials, especially oil. If we add to this the fact that Malaga water tastes similar or equal to some bottled water, drinking water from Malaga fountains is a healthy and environmentally responsible option.
DISCOVER FANTASTIC GUIDED TOURS IN MÁLAGA
Help us grow, do you know of any other fountains?
It is very difficult to make these compilations of drinking water fountains. There is usually no clear information from public institutions. If you know of new public fountains that are in operation, please let us know. You can write in the comments and we will add it to the map.