Water restrictions reach Algarve golf courses

The Minister of the Environment, Duarte Cordeiro, explained that the new measures, in addition to reducing consumption in the tourist resorts of the Algarve, include, for Trás-os-Montes, connection works of the Alto Rabagao system at the Arcosso and the extension of Pinhao to the Vila Chã water supply system.

Duarte Cordeiro said that of the 31 multipurpose tanks in critical condition that are under surveillance, 10 have maintained their stored volume and only two have reduced storage by more than 5% since the last meeting on June 21.

The Minister of Agriculture, Maria do Céu Antunes, also said that compared to last month, the situation has not changed in the 44 hydro-agricultural reservoirs: 37 of them ensure the irrigation campaign and seven have limitations.

Maria do Céu Antunes said a €24.5 million notice had been opened so that farmers could apply to install precision systems and use water more efficiently.

“By the end of the month, we will provide financial resources of approximately 30 million euros to improve water efficiency in the hydro-agricultural exploitation of Mira, with the construction of a new pumping and rehabilitation of the entire main canal, which includes the placement of photovoltaic systems to avoid evapotranspiration and allow the system to be sustainable,” the minister said.

Maria do Céu Antunes pointed out that Portugal is experiencing one of the worst droughts in the last 100 years, which is jeopardizing agricultural production, and welcomed the fact that today there are emergency plans for all hydro-agricultural reservoirs and a more efficient irrigation system with interconnections between reservoirs.

With regard to the use of treated wastewater, the Minister stated that in Alqueva the irrigation of pomegranate trees with this water is being studied, and that the use of this water is also being studied in Loures and Alvor. There are also experiences of rice production with drip irrigation, which reduces water use by 50%, the minister said.

Treated wastewater, the Minister of the Environment said, among other applications can be used to fight fires and also for energy production.

Regarding the reduction of water consumption in tourism in the Algarve, the Minister explained that there had been a meeting between the Portuguese Environment Agency and a group of tourism companies in the Algarve, during which a limitation of the use of water was negotiated, in particular for green spaces and on golf courses.

Duarte Cordeiro stressed the need for the Portuguese to save water, noting that this is the fifth year with below average rainfall, but assured there were no restrictions on the water for human consumption.

Michael C. Ford