We’re in week five of the Portugal News’ “Going Green” series…
… As a responsible thriving renewables company, we are increasing efforts in awareness. Not just for our solutions, but our local and regional Algarvean environment.
We look inland to focus on water – this time discussing the Algarve barragems. December 2019 heavy rains did not end the Algarve’s drought. Precipitation would have needed to increase fourfold to achieve normal levels.
Odelouca Dam reservoir is the main source of water for the region, supported by other surface and underground sources. Its capacity of 134 million cubic metres was on-stream in 2009. From the early 1960’s many artesian wells and dams have been constructed stopping realities of “drought” that ancestors had to endure. This has helped condition the idea that the Algarve is “immune” to drought.
In April 2020 the dams of Funcho, Beliche, Odeleite and Odelouca were very low. This means we are drawing aquifer water. Folk continue to turn on taps forgetting water is a scarce and finite resource. Farmers are the main consumers accounting for 60%. In comparison, golf courses use 6%. There is another reality – Algarve councils are losing water in numerous pipelines, figures show 16.6% to a huge 55.1%.
Talk of building new dams and researching the idea of cripplingly expensive desalination plants won’t work. Mayors need to study the research. And act. The sixteen municipalities should form a working group. Firstly they must combat the growing faulty pipe network and over-irrigation. Then water management firms must step up and play their part.
Regional authority Aguas do Algarve invests €100 million in maintenance. It awarded a €41m contract to Acciona Água S.A. in charge of the maintenance of sanitation subsystems of wastewater at the Almargem and Faro-Noroeste ETAR wastewater treatment plants. The second, over €58 million, was given to Be Water S.A. and will see the company taking over the same responsibilities at the Lagos and Albufeira Ponte ETAR plants.
We’re all in this together. And we need to reduce consumption. There has been no rain in the central Algarve since May 15, 2020. People only react to crisis – proof was Covid-19. Ever turned a tap on to find no water and heard banging?
7 ways save water and money in the bathroom
1. Reduce baths, take showers – this saves at 50% of water
2. Install low-flow shower heads in every bathroom – this saves 50% of consumption
3. Cut your time in the shower by half – no-one needs more than a 5-6 minute shower, not 20 minutes!
4. Turn off water – why run a tap when you’re brushing your teeth?
5. Twin-flush system – these help save water for liquid and solid waste removal
6. Don’t use toilet as a waste basket – no flushing water to get rid of dry paper, sharpenings
7. Put a plug in it – never run water ‘til you get to temperature
In keeping with this week’s water focus, some web sites to help.