water running from tap
Photo: Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Algarve tourism confident it can cut water consumption by 15%

Tourism sector will “continue taking measures to cut water consumption”

The Algarve’s tourism boss has expressed his confidence that the sector will be able to cut its water consumption by 15% in line with the government’s soon-to-be-unveiled contigency plan to tackle drought in the region.

“I’m convinced that the (Algarve tourism) sector will respond in a way that will fulfil the goals set by the government,” André Gomes told Lusa news agency this week.

The government will soon formally announce a plan which will impose major water cuts in the Algarve (of 70% for agriculture and 15% for urban consumption) in an effort to reduce the region’s consumption at a time when water levels at dams are at all-time low.

According to André Gomes, who heads the region’s tourism board (RTA) and association (ATA), the many subsectors linked to tourism “have been doing their job in the last few years and will continue taking measures to reduce their water consumption.”

He gave the example of golf courses, which in July had already experienced a 40% cut and have been investing in water treatment infrastructures. Four golf courses in the Algarve are already connected to water reuse systems, Gomes said, adding that it is expected that the number will increase to 12 by 2027 and 32 by 2030.

Golf courses are also planting plants that do not need as much water and implementing irrigation systems that only water the courses when “strictly necessary and with the necessary amount of water.” Courses are also only being irrigated at night, he added.

Other businesses, such as hotels or holiday rental (AL) establishments, have also been “doing their homework,” such as installing tap aerators to reduce water flow and reducing the areas that need to be irrigated.

Tourists are also becoming more aware of this issue, with more and more holidaymakers visiting the region who are “aware of the need to save water,” Gomes told Lusa.

The Algarve’s struggles with drought are a “reality that the region has been dealing with for a long time,” the tourism boss said, praising the fact that the matter is being dealt with with the involvement of all sectors and entities in the region.

By Michael Bruxo

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