Government will have a “tough hand” for irresponsible attitudes in water management and consumption

Water consumption in the Algarve has decreased in global terms, but has increased in terms of urban water consumption

Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

The Government will have a “tough hand” for anyone who does not have a responsible attitude in the management and consumption of water, at a critical time for the management of water resources, the Minister of the Environment warned today.

“We're going to be tough with all those who don't realize that they have to have a responsible attitude at a particularly complicated time”, Duarte Cordeiro told journalists, on the outskirts of Lagos.

The minister was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to a farm, in Espiche (Lagos), and to the monitoring point of the piezometric network (monitoring of groundwater levels) of the Almádena/Odiáxere aquifer, managed by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA).

According to the Minister of Environment and Climate Action, water consumption in the Algarve, involving all types of consumption (agricultural, urban), to date, “is five cubic hectometers below last year's consumption”. However, he highlighted “more needs to be done” to encourage savings in urban consumption.

For Duarte Cordeiro, in addition to agricultural holdings and municipalities “setting an example in reducing” the volume of “watering of gardens and common spaces”, it is necessary to “do more from the point of view of encouraging savings in urban consumption”.

“We have to understand where it [incentive to save urban consumption] is not being fulfilled and we have to continue the structural investments foreseen in the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR)”, he stated.

Stressing that agricultural farms consume two thirds of the water volume of the Almádena/Odiáxere aquifer and with large consumers (agriculture and golf courses) having the obligation to report their consumption, supervision was tightened.

In this context, “an administrative offense was applied to the owner” of the farm visited today by the minister, due to the fact that the water consumption was not being reported. But, with the support of the APA, a meter was later installed that allows reporting, hour by hour, the water consumption of the 20-hectare vineyard”.


Minister of the Environment listens to the explanations next to the telemetry system – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


The minister said that the trip to the Algarve, accompanied by Secretary of State for the Environment Hugo Pires, aims to “see on the ground the inspection work of groundwater bodies, in this case in the Almádena/Odeáxere aquifer, which is be developed” by the APA.

“This work resulted in 138 administrative offenses, and these administrative offenses essentially result in adaptations on the part of facilities and agricultural holdings”, such as the one carried out in the Matos Brancos vineyard, he highlighted.

In Duarte Cordeiro's opinion, monitoring and inspecting underground water bodies is important to know the existing resources “for the management of this territory, at the most critical moment” due to the drought.

During the afternoon, Duarte Cordeiro will visit and participate in the presentation of the reused water projects at the Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) in Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago, in the municipality of Loulé.

The project for the reuse of treated water in these WWTPs will be launched by the end of this year, to be operational in late 2024 or early 2025.

In the case of the Vilamoura WWTP, the reused water will irrigate golf courses, gardens and public green spaces and also the sports park.

In the Algarve, there are already cases of reuse of treated wastewater, namely on the Castro Marim golf courses, as you can read here.



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