The popular new artificial lake, the centrepiece of the recently-inaugurated Plaza de España in the centre of Santa Cruz, has brought huge headaches for the local authorities. The lake, which fills with seawater every six hours when the tide comes in, has been used as an improvised swimming pool by hundreds of youngsters escaping the summer heat.

Police were met with stiff opposition when they tried to evict them, and ended up with a direct challenge on their hands when they were asked to produce the legislation banning swimming in the lake.
It only took a few days for the Cabildo, which is located just yards away, to announce that swimming was not allowed in the lake.

The corporation’s president Ricardo Melchior is adamant that the new attraction should not be used as a pool, although he does acknowledge that the occasional dipping of feet to cool off is acceptable. “I have never seen in European cities like Vienna locals donning their swimsuits to swim in a big fountain. The lake here was built for a different purpose, not swimming,” he insisted, although stressing that responsibility for ensuring it is used properly lies with the city council.