The highlands of Malaga Province are full of springs that give birth to major and minor waterways. Streams and tributaries flow together, aided by winter rainfall and the resultant heightened water table, forming rivers irrigating land and dammed to create reservoirs. The reservoirs service households, swimming pools and the coastal golf courses and tourist industry. During periods when winter rainfall is low for several consecutive years, demand on the reservoirs exceeds the water that fills them with notable changes in landscape.
Not all household water comes from reservoirs. Many rural properties and farmlands have personal wells which are relatively easy to divine and dig for. In other instances, entire towns and villages receive mains water sourced from a mountain spring.
The River Guaro and its tributaries, the Sabar, the Benamargosa, the Salia, the Bermuza, the Almachar and the Rubite, are dammed to feed Vinuela reservoir for which plans were first discussed in 1890 and work begun, almost a century later, in 1981.
The reservoir holds 170 million cubic metres of water covering 700 hectares, supplying fresh water for Axarquia and irrigating more than 2,700 hectares of land.
The Guadalhorce River is the principal river of the Province of Malaga. It initially meanders through plains to the north of Antequera before squeezing through the El Chorro Gorge, a spectacular 7 kilometre long canyon in an area surrounded by forests, lakes and limestone cliffs. The journey continues through the towns of Villanueva del Trabuco, Villanueva del Rosario, Archidona, Antequera, Alhaurin el Grande, Alhaurin de la Torre, Almogia, Alora, Cartama, Coin and Pizarra forming the Valle del Guadalhorce, before reaching the Mediterranean west of Malaga City. Before discharging into the sea, a portion of the river is diverted to provide power for the City.
The Guadiaro River in Malaga Province flows southward through the Sierra de Grazalema National Park and discharges at the Mediterranean in Sotogrande. The westbank of the Guadiaro´s estuary is notable for abundant wildlife, being one of the few marshland sites remaining on the Costa del Sol, protected as a 27 hectare Nature Reserve.
The source of the Guadiaro can be found at Arriate. From here it flows down the mountains, collecting rainwater from the mountains near Ronda. After the bridge at Ronda it flows underground emerging clean and fresh further on.
The Sierra Blanca aquifer is the source of the River Genal. It flows out of a rocky outcrop in Igualeja in the Sierra de Ronda. The river has formed a steep valley through which it flows which is blanketed with forests and vegetation.