Minister Duarte Cordeiro inaugurating Zoomarine's new wastewater recycling and reuse System. Photos: Zoomarine Facebook

Algarve to consume four times more recycled water by 2026

Authorities move on golf courses’ recent laments over inaction 

Minister for the Environment and Climate Action Duarte Cordeiro has visited the Algarve to announce that by 2026 the Algarve should be multiplying its consumption of recycle (waste) water, particularly when it comes to supplies to golf courses.

This is exactly what golf courses have been pushing for – with little concrete results up till now.

Galloping drought and climate change seem to have changed all that, however, with Cordeiro stressing that authorities plan to increase the south’s current 2.1 cubic hectometer consumption of wastewater to 8.0 cubic hectometers in just three years time.

“This implies adapting and doing works on a set of waste water treatment plants (WWTPs), which are being done, by Águas do Algarve and (…) will allow, for example, if all goes well, that all golf courses adapt, or at least all those that have the capacity to respond to recycled water”, he told his audience.

The minister was in Albufeira to inaugurate the Wastewater Recycling and Reuse System, associated with the Albufeira WWTP, supplying water theme park Zoomarine.

The occasion stood as “an example of the Algarve’s goal of multiplying by four the capacity to use recycled water”, he said.

Regarding golf courses keen to adapt, Mr Cordeiro revealed that “recently” commitments were signed with two further complexes. And he was quick to ‘downplay the increase in the price associated with the use of waste water”, adds Lusa.

“I need to say that water, at this moment in Portugal, (the price increase) is not significant for the competitiveness of any business”.

Indeed, “the variation in costs will not be significant, at least for businesses that are intended to be healthy“.

“If they are unhealthy businesses that really depend on the cost of water to survive, these businesses (…) will have difficulty surviving…”, he admitted.

Mr Cordeiro stressed the importance of an ongoing national campaign to “raise awareness of the reduction of water consumption” which, according to him, has already allowed the Algarve, in June, to show “a positive sign of reduction in consumption compared to last year”.

According to information given during the event by Portuguese Environment Agency APA,  there has been “a tendency to reduce consumption in May and June” compared to 2022.

As for Zoomarine’s new Wastewater Recycling and Reuse System, associated with the Albufeira Poente WWTP, this represents an investment of more than €130,000 which includes a tertiary (biological) treatment plant.

The company says it expects annual savings of “many hundreds of thousands of litres of water for watering gardens, nurseries and the like”.

In 2014, the park invested in the construction of a 4.7 km pipeline that allows the capture (and subsequent return) of seawater.

“With the new system, water savings are made not only in terms of salt water (for zoological habitats, the rehabilitation centre, public pools and slides), but also in terms of freshwater”, the company emphasises.

Source material: LUSA