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Algarve to reduce golf course irrigation in bid to save water

Less water for golf courses

Reducing the irrigation of golf courses and gardens and turning off water fountains are among some of the measures being prepared to reduce water consumption at the Algarve’s tourism complexes, regional tourism chief João Fernandes has announced.

Fernandes provided an update on Thursday after it was announced that a meeting had taken place last week to agree upon measures to save water at hotels, resorts and other tourism establishments in the region.

“We are collecting information from business associations linked to tourism to present a number of proposals of concrete measures to reduce water consumption,” Fernandes told Lusa news agency on Thursday.

Said the tourism chief, the measures will not affect the availability of drinking water.

“We have to limit ourselves to our field of business and what we have been working on with the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) is the identification of contingency measures at tourist complexes, with the goal of saving water in areas of great consumption,” he said.

The measures are due to be presented to APA no later than this week, said Fernandes, adding that entrepreneurs are aware of the importance of protecting “this scarce and increasingly expensive resource”.

One proposal that will be pitched by RTA is to increase awareness raising campaigns directed at tourists, advising them to avoid daily bed sheet and towel changes.

“This is a behaviour that should be adopted not only by tourists, but also residents,” he said.

Fernandes also said that the Algarve has been intensifying the implementation of contingency measures to deal with prolonged periods of drought and low water levels at dams, especially at golf courses.

According to the tourism boss, golf courses have been switching to warm-weather golf course grasses, reducing the area available for golfing, and using treated wastewater for irrigation.

“There are two golf course which for over 20 years have followed these good practices and the idea is to expand them to a larger number of courses,” he said.

By Michael Bruxo