That sinking feeling

Every September one particularly unwelcome visitor to the country is DANA, a cold drop or isolated depression that usually dumps large quantities of rainfall across many Spanish Territories. Families in Villamartin’s Calle Isaac Albaniz will be praying this year, that it avoids the Orihuela Costa.

In 2019 they were not so fortunate as many of their properties, which all back onto a dried out stream, Cañada de las Estacas, saw large parts of their gardens swept into the barranco below by the heavy rains.

The phenomenon, that usually accompanies children as they return to school, was especially heavy, and remained almost stationary above the region for several days,

The drainage in C/Isaac Albaniz could not cope and as the rainfall overflowed down the side of many properties a number of gardens were swept away, rendering at least 3 of the Villas unsafe.

The properties were built over 20 years ago and the subsidence is now seriously affecting at least 1 detached and 2 semi-detached Villas in the road

With the collapse of the drainage system there was a constant stream of raw sewage pouring out of the burst mains pipe and down the road toward Villamartin Golf Course. This lasted for about 4 weeks after which engineers, appointed by the Ayuntamiento, arrived to carry out the repair.

Over saturated soils are impossible to compact and drying reagents, such as Quicklime, Lime Kiln Dust (LKD), and Calciment™ can be used from to adjust the moisture and improve the workability of problematic soils so as to achieve the strength required for most job site specifications.

Whilst the pipework was fixed and the sewage problem rectified the engineers’ answer to the subsidence was to fill the gardens with even more earth. Not the brightest of solutions, as a month later, during the very next heavy downpour, the soil was once again washed away and down into the ravine.

Cabo Roig abogado, Juan Antonio Morales, is working on behalf of one of the owners, Craig Campbell Clements, but despite regular contact with both the Orihuela Town Hall and the Government environmental department in Murcia, responsible for Barranco conservation, there has been absolutely no progress.

Craig told the Leader that the Murcia agency promised to send engineers to look at the problem in May but they never arrived and now his calls and emails are being ignored. Closer to home the owners are also still waiting for a visit from the Town Hall, which is similarly aware of the problem and in possession of all the relevant information.

“Insurers La Caixa have also said they cannot help and my daughter Abby is in constant panic mode. Every time it rains none of us can get any sleep and we inevitably end up sitting awake all night listening to every creak, concerned that the next shower could see the back of the house disappearing down the barranco and my family being buried under the rubble. We really are that worried,” said Craig.

“We just want to get back to enjoying our life hear in Spain as the last 12 months have been a living hell for all of us.”


  1. Cañada de las Estacas has not been maintained for more than 10 years, and because of this large natural debris like trees are catching and eroding the banks surrounding the baranco. As well as building materials from construction at Los Dolses.

    If you follow the baranco from Villamartin to the sea, you will see numerous points along the route which are at risk of collapse including pathways and roads. The soil underneath the paths have been eroded, but those walking above a probably unaware of that.