Calls to stop using drinking water to irrigate golf courses

The BE party has introduced a bill requiring golf courses to be fully irrigated with reused wastewater, while criticizing the lack of government action to deal with the severe drought situation.

Speaking to the Lusa agency, the parliamentary leader of BE, Pedro Filipe Soares, explained the main lines of this legislative initiative that the party presented to parliament, considering that the fact that Portugal is going through “the worst year of drought since 1931” is demonstrative of the “seriousness of the situation”.

“It is true that the Minister of the Environment has always introduced other concerns, saying that the use of water must be considered more in the future, but, in fact, from a legislative point of view, it does nothing to achieve these goals. “, he criticized.

For the BE deputy, “maintaining everything as it is concerning the use of water” without introducing “criteria of efficiency and rationality is to exacerbate the problem”, criticizing the absence of measures on the part of government “on how to safeguard this fundamental resource”. ”.

According to Pedro Filipe Soares, a good example of what can be done is precisely the irrigation of golf courses and that is why BE intends that “the water used in the irrigation systems of golf courses must come entirely from the reused wastewater”.

Of the country’s 78 golf courses, 40 are in the Algarve region, an area with the greatest water scarcity, he said.

“A golf course can and should have water from treatment plants for irrigation systems. It makes no sense that drinking water is used – which could be used to give people or animals a drink,” he criticized, noting that there are areas in the Algarve where farmers have limited irrigation water.

The BE Bill provides that no new golf course may be licensed and operated without a sewage-dependent irrigation system.

A golf course, according to BE, “consumes about 400,000 cubic meters of water per year” and “only two in the country use water from sewage treatment plants for their irrigation systems”, considering that that is why the measure they propose is “one of the most obvious choices to promote greater efficiency in water management”.

“According to data from the Algarve Water Efficiency Plan, 7% of the total water consumption in the region is carried out by golf courses, which shows the extent of the problem”, according to the same project.

Michael C. Ford