water dripping out of tap

Government proposes Algarve tourist tax for environmental sustainability

Tax could see money invested in water, nature conservation and waste management

The Portuguese government is recommending that councils with less water – namely those in the Algarve – create tourist taxes, revenue from which would revert to the region’s environmental sustainability.

“We recommend for areas with more pressure, namely the Algarve, that local councils introduce fees that can revert to the environmental sustainability of the area, such as investment in water, nature conservation or waste management,” said minister of environment and climate action, Duarte Cordeiro.

The recommendation was made at a press conference with agriculture minister, Maria do Céu Antunes, after a meeting of about two hours of the permanent commission for the prevention, monitoring and follow-up of drought effects (CPPMAES).

Noting that the Alentejo and Algarve are already suffering a combination of severe drought and extreme drought, the two ministers announced measures to minimise the problem.  

Duarte Cordeiro recommended, as he did last year, that local councils “design intelligent tariffs” so that those who consume more water pay more.

Those who use water to fill swimming pools, for example, as opposed to those who use water for daily consumption, should pay more, he said.

CPPMAES met today for the first time this year, and decided that from now on meetings will be monthly. 

At today’s meeting it was decided that national meteorological institute, IPMA, will assess whether there are conditions to declare a situation of extreme and severe drought in certain locations, which will allow support to farmers.

At the end of the meeting, Duarte Cordeiro took stock of the measures to combat  drought in the country – such as those that will lead to a 50% increase in water availability in the Algarve – adding that until these investments have produced effects, it is necessary to “manage the territory with contingency measures”, particularly as in the Algarve there has been a 3% increase in water consumption.

Maria do Céu Antunes spoke of lowering the quota for water capture in the Santa Clara dam, in the Mira river area (Alentejo) – with investments in efficiency that are expected to bear fruit within five years, and the construction of new greenhouses being prohibited in the southwest Alentejo area.

“The perspective is to recover the traditional quota, otherwise measures will have to be more restrictive,” she said.

For the Algarve, measures were decided over limits on the use of water for agriculture, namely in the Odelouca dam.

Questioned by journalists, the environment minister said that limiting the use of water for energy purposes was not yet justified and stressed that the most worrying situations were currently in the Alentejo regions – especially along the coast –  the Algarve, – especially the western Algarve – and some locations in central Portugal and Trás-os-Montes.

Source material: LUSA