Algarve: Rain good for farmers, little impact on dams

The rain that has fallen in recent days in the Algarve has mitigated the impact of drought on agriculture but has had “little impact” on the volume of water stored in dams, a source from Águas do Algarve told Lusa on Wednesday.

According to Teresa Fernandes, spokeswoman for the management company of multi-municipal water supply systems in the Algarve, “the rainfall has not yet impacted on the volume of water stored in dams in the region, which remain with levels below desirable for this time of the hydrological year”.

The official said that, according to data collected on Tuesday, the volumes of water stored in the dams of Odeleite and Beliche, in the eastern Algarve, and Odelouca and Bravura, in the western Algarve, “have not changed” in relation to those recorded in February.

“The rain that fell was not felt in the storage levels, but it contributed to minimise the impact of the drought in agricultural fields, relieving the pressure on the withdrawal of water from the dams for the irrigation of most crops,” she pointed out.

The Algarve’s dams at Odeleite and Beliche, both in the eastern Algarve, and Odelouca and Bravura, to the west, maintain levels below 50% of their useful storage volumes, with the Bravura dam in the municipality of Lagos showing the most worrying situation, with only 14.5% of its useful capacity.

Given the low level of the dam, which supplies the municipalities of Lagos, Vila do Bispo and Aljezur, the government suspended, in February, the use of its water for any kind of irrigation, allowing only the use for human consumption.

Teresa Fernandes stressed that the amount of rain that has fallen in the region “so far, has been insufficient” to alleviate the extreme drought that the region is facing, a situation that may be alleviated if it continues to rain next month.

“Our expectation is that rainfall will continue for the month of April, in order to increase the storage volumes of the Algarve dams,” she said.

To face the drought situation, the Águas do Algarve spokeswoman reiterated the importance of “making people aware of the need to save water”.

“Water is a resource that should be used responsibly, at a time when water shortages are constantly being felt due to climate change,” she noted.

She recalled that the company has launched several initiatives and environmental education initiatives for the general public and schools in the Algarve on environmental sustainability, focusing on the efficient use of water.