Mira irrigation channel
One of the many 'scandals' in the Algarve, for decades, has been the Mira irrigation channel that flows (ultimately) into the sea (https://www.portugalresident.com/unbelievable-algarve-mp-visits-regions-water-waste-scandal-hidden-in-plain-sight/)

Authorities’ water saving measures: “Contradictory, ineffective, out of step, out of time”

Platform for Sustainable Water suggests “immediate concrete measures”

With the government’s masterplan of 46 measures designed to save water in the parched Algarve still not approved by the Council of Ministers, PAS – the platform for Sustainable Water – has essentially said they are useless.

The exact wording is “contradictory, ineffective, out of step and out of time”.

In a short press release issued today, PAS outlines immediate concrete measures which it believes will tackle the region’s gathering storm of water scarcity – sidestepping for now  ‘structural measures’ of the type supported by AMAL president António Pina.

First, the demand for water should be ‘reduced’ by:

  • Using treated wastewater (as per European directives) for irrigation/ washing etc.
  • Offering incentives to move away from intensive monocultures to regenerative policultures (more traditional forms of agriculture which preserve water in the soil)
  • Removing all grass/ irrigated spaces, turning them over to gardens that are drought resistant
  • Using water from municipal swimming pools for street cleaning/ irrigation needs
  • Penalising excessive consumption, both public and private (either by higher costs, or water cuts).

Second, priority must be given to public works to fix the leaks in urban and irrigation networks, by:

  • Authorising such works, if necessary substituting faulty material/ pipes
  • Adequately maintaining water infrastructure
  • Making the reuse of waste water a priority for urban consumption (cleaning streets/ irrigation purposes)/ agricultural consumption.

Third, there is the need for legislation that “obliges the separation of grey waters, in new constructions – and fourth, there has to be a form of systematic monitoring and evaluation of consumption, to identify ‘unlicensed abstractions’ (known to take place on a daily basis, here and there, almost everywhere).

Finally – and a gargantuan taskPAS recommends the installation of water metres on all boreholes (private and public).

The Resident hopes to bring a wider interview on these measures shortly, as on paper they would suggest so much (in the way of water) is pouring through the gaps in authorities’ overall approach.

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