AHETA demands action to avoid drought in 2006

A LETTER has been sent to Prime Minister José Sócrates by the Associação dos Hotéis e Empreendimentos Turísticos do Algarve (AHETA), the Algarve hotel and resorts association, pointing out that the “priority of priorities” for the Algarve is water and that urgent action is required.

The letter states that a systematic policy must be implemented with regard to water management, in order to avoid a drought scenario in 2006 and in future years. The resorts request that the public water supply system is properly renovated and that its management is overhauled. They also call for a reforestation programme to be implemented.

AHETA highlights the urgent necessity to put together a contingency plan so that guidelines are in place to cover any further drought situations, a plan which should refer to the conservation of resources, water saving economies, minimisation of loss from municipal pipe networks and the recycling of treated water.

The association also emphasises that a programme to control the water consumption of golf courses is to be prepared, in conjunction with a university specialising in scientific investigations, as part of a campaign to raise awareness of saving water in the Algarve — water saving that should take place at hotels, tourist accommodation, green areas, particularly at golf courses, and consumption reductions that should reach a level of 50 per cent.

Finally, AHETA calls Sócrates’ attention to the fact that it is no good running away from the problems, but that he must avoid making alarmist statements because this can have serious consequences for the tourism industry in the Algarve.