The 15% water cut announced by the government is not seen as worrying for the sector
Hotels in the Algarve are confident they will be able to cut their water consumption by 15% in line with the government’s latest drought contingency plan for the region.
“The sector doesn’t see the requested reduction as a very dramatic measure,” the president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Resorts of the Algarve (AHETA), Hélder Martins, told Lusa this Thursday (January 18).
As reported earlier today, the government has officially announced water cuts of 25% for agriculture and 15% for the urban sector.
According to Hélder Martins, hotel entrepreneurs have been making cuts in various areas since last year and the latest 15% cut is something that can be achieved “without too much concern”.
“We’re going to work to meet the targets,” said Martins, adding that some of the measures decided upon were proposed by AHETA.
He gave as an example the creation of a “green seal” to certify that hotel units are in agreement and comply with a reduction in water consumption as a way of combating the extreme drought caused by climate change.
Hélder Martins also said that measures were taken in 2023 to raise awareness among tourists, such as asking them not to throw their towels on the floor and to reuse them the next day, a behaviour that will save a lot of water normally used for laundry.
“It’s measures like this that we’ll continue to encourage,” he said.
No compensation for tourism industry
Meanwhile, Portugal’s minister for the environment and climate action said on Thursday that no compensation is planned for the water cuts imposed on the tourism sector in the Algarve, as there are no restrictions “on the development of the activity”.
“We don’t foresee the need for any kind of compensation for the sector,” Duarte Cordeiro said at a press conference at the end of the cabinet meeting.
However, financial support for the agricultural sector is being studied, revealed the minister for agriculture and food, Maria do Céu Antunes.
When asked about the other sectors affected, Duarte Cordeiro emphasised that there is no “restriction on the development of tourism”, only “limits regarding water efficiency and water saving”.
For this reason, he dismissed the need for support and added that “the sector should show the country its ability to internalise this process of change as something positive, something that could improve the Algarve”.
As for commerce, he explained that the government’s ability to implement measures that restrict some commercial activity is still being assessed and only then will compensation be considered.