Spain: British expat questions application of Covid passes
Up to 200 homeowners were left without drinking water or electricity in the Spanish region of Murcia. The group of mainly British expats, many of whom are pensioners, have to rely on an agricultural water supply unfit for human consumption. The dire situation comes after a developer building the urbanization where Brits bought their homes disappeared during construction.
Many expats have pleaded with the local town hall to resolve the situation over the past 20 years, but have made little progress.
Linda House, 73, from Essex, explained what it is like to live without a fresh water supply in her home and having to rely on the water that local farmers use to water their crops.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “Sometimes it smells, sometimes it’s discolored.
“It’s not water I’m happy to shower in and wash my hair in.”
Linda has lived in the Gea y Truyols area since 2003 when she bought her house with her late husband Vic.
She and her neighbors asked the City to solve their housing problem, including their lack of basic public services.
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Linda: petitioned the town hall
Expats want some form of legal recognition of their properties, which many of them have lived in for two decades.
The owners bought their properties in good faith, but it later emerged that the houses had been built without planning permission and that the land on which the houses are built had not been separated into individual plots.
This means that the houses are technically illegal and cannot be connected to the water and electricity network, according to Gerardo Vasquez.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the local Spanish lawyer, who is familiar with the expatriates’ plight, explained why they remain without water and electricity.
He said: ‘To get access to public services you need what is called a first professional licence, which is a document issued by the administration to say that the house was built with a building permit, this which has been built complies with the building permit, it is obtained the services.
“So it can be used and you can connect to services like electricity and water, but these houses don’t seem to have any.
Brown: Tap water on Keith’s property in Murcia
“What they have is an undivided share, so they have a share of a big piece of land, so that’s what they can sell.”
Linda, who previously worked as a personal assistant in the UK, explained some of the ways she and her neighbors had tried to solve their water problems.
She said: “There is absolutely nothing you can do with our agricultural water that will make it safe to drink.
“You can’t do anything with it. People have had filters and osmosis systems installed and it’s still not good.
One of Linda’s neighbors who has installed filters in his home is Keith Willis, 71, from Windsor.
The pensioner, who lives with his partner Pat, spoke to Express.co.uk about his priorities in his current situation.
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Water filters: Chez Keith in Murcia
He said: “Getting fresh water that we can actually drink or cook with because the water is now agricultural water, you can’t really do much with it.
“He comes out of brown taps most of the time. So fresh water will be the main thing.
He added: “Water is the worst thing, but then we just buy our water from supermarkets in bottles and cook with it and use it to make coffee.
“We wash and take showers in agricultural water.”
Another Briton who is also without water at his home in the region is Tony Malpass, 60, from the Midlands.
The security analyst, who bought his property 15 years ago, said he was also unable to drink tap water.
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He told Express.co.uk: “You can’t drink it. Apparently there’s things like arsenic in it and heavy metals and all kinds of bullshit.
“And the main filters that people have – if they have a tank in a pump room – are basically sand.
“So you just filter it through the sand and the sand won’t filter out all the chemicals and stuff.
“We shower in it, but you wouldn’t want to swallow a bite of it.”
Murcia City Hall did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
A Foreign Office spokesman told Express.co.uk: “We are in contact with local authorities and UK residents in the area.”