The Algarve seeks to consume four times more recycled water by 2026, announced environment minister Duarte Cordeiro who was in the region last Saturday to inaugurate Zoomarine theme park’s new wastewater recycling system.
The Algarve continues to make great strides in its goal to reuse as much water as possible in order to tackle its ongoing drought. Guia theme park Zoomarine has just inaugurated a new water recycling station, while more golf courses than ever are using treated wastewater for irrigation. Meanwhile, the region’s planned desalination plant has also moved another step closer to construction.
Portugal’s Minister of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, attended the inauguration of Zoomarine’s new wastewater recycling station on Saturday (July 15) to announce that the Algarve should be multiplying its consumption of recycled (waste) water by 2026, particularly when it comes to supplying golf courses.
The minister announced that the plan is to increase the southern region’s current 2.1 cubic hectometre consumption of wastewater to 8.0 cubic hectometres in just three years’ time.
“This implies adapting and doing works on a set of wastewater 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,” Cordeiro said.
The inauguration of the new system at Zoomarine stood as “an example of the Algarve’s goal of multiplying by four the capacity to use recycled water,” he said.
Zoomarine’s new System of Wastewater Recycling and Reuse will be linked to the Albufeira Poente wastewater treatment plant (ETAR) and was created in partnership with regional water authority Águas do Algarve.
Representing an investment of more than €130,000, the new system is expected to “put Zoomarine at the top spots, on a national level,” of initiatives that promote environmental sustainability.
Says the theme park, the new system is expected to save “many hundreds of thousands of litres of water per year” in the watering of gardens and green spaces.
This is just one of the latest projects completed in the Algarve which aim to reuse as much water as possible, particularly at golf courses and water-based theme parks.
Águas do Algarve spokesperson Teresa Fernandes told the Resident: “With increasingly prolonged drought periods and the impact of climate change, the use of new water sources, such as water reuse and desalination, becomes essential for the proper management of water resources.
“We are currently experiencing a critical moment regarding water scarcity. Access to safe drinking water, vital for human survival, is becoming increasingly limited in many regions of the world, including Portugal, particularly in the case of the Algarve. This challenge of sustainable water management requires each one of us, in different scenarios, to take responsibility for the impact of our actions and make conscious and intelligent choices regarding the consumption and conservation of this precious and essential resource – water,” she added.
Reusing as much treated wastewater as possible will “help reduce the demand on traditional sources of water for human consumption, such as our dams (Odelouca, Odeleite, and Beliche), and underground water, thus enabling the conservation of available water resources,” the spokesperson said.
Stressing that there is “much being done” in the Algarve in this regard, Teresa Fernandes highlighted some of the most “recent successful cases in the Algarve, such as the Salgados golf course, the San Lorenzo golf course in Quinta do Lago and, more recently, Castro Marim Golfe & Country Club, which use recycled water for irrigation.”
Fernandes also highlighted four key strategies to help the Algarve better manage its water resources:
- Water conservation: Says the AdA spokesperson,“it is essential to adopt water conservation practices in all aspects of our daily lives,” making it “a routine, not just an obligation during periods of drought.”
- Sustainable agriculture: Agriculture is one of the sector’s that consumes the most water, which is why it should “continue the transition to sustainable agricultural practices, such as cultivating drought-resistant crops, using efficient irrigation techniques, and proper soil management”.
- Resilient infrastructures: Investing in infrastructures that are resilient to climate change, such as climate-adapted drainage systems, “can help deal with extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.”
- Awareness and education: Awareness and education are described as “essential to involve the community in adopting sustainable practices.”
By MICHAEL BRUXO