Keeping Quinta green

Full of beautiful villas and charming country clubs, excellent restaurants and exclusive golf courses, Quinta do Lago is practically picture perfect. But maintaining such a perfect environment requires a lot of hard work and careful planning, says João Paulo Sousa from InfraQuinta, the behind-the-scenes company that keeps Quinta do Lago immaculate. Now, InfraQuinta is installing a new management method in the Quinta do Lago area, which will control the area’s water supply more efficiently using a new computerised system. The Resident reporter George Fletcher was invited for a sneak preview of this new technology.

It’s all down to Telem tria – the new key to controlling the water flow in Quinta do Lago. This computer program works by assessing the daily flow of water through four main control units dotted around Quinta do Lago to measure the water in cubic metres, and then send a message to the head office database.

“The computerised system means that we have complete control over water wastage and consumption,” Sousa explains proudly. Before the Telem tria program was introduced, InfraQuinta, which is 51 per cent owned by Loulé Câmara and 49 per cent private, had only a basic level of information about the water pipes in Quinta do Lago. “This new software allows us an in-depth understanding of the whole water system,” Sousa comments. He gave the example of a burst water pipe, claiming that should a pipe burst, a message from one of the main water units would quickly reach his computer and immediately register the excessive water flow, allowing the maintenance team to fix it before water is wasted.

“Measuring water consumption and usage in this way is ecologically sound,” he explains. “It is the most effective method for pinpointing an area which is using unusually large amounts of water, allowing us a level of control that we have not had before. We are hoping that this will save a lot of water in Quinta do Lago.”

Nose friendly bins

As well as controlling the water usage in Quinta do Lago, InfraQuinta has modernised the garbage system to a similarly advanced level. At Quinta Shopping for example, there have been recycling bins outside the main entrance to the shops for over a year now. They are unique because, on first appearance, they seem small; however, they actually reach a couple of metres underground. This keeps any nasty odours from reaching passers-by.

The bins will also be fitted with a sensor that will send messages straight to a head office database, so that InfraQuinta will know immediately when the bins are full. “All these new technological developments allow us to keep Quinta do Lago clean and free of waste,” explains Sousa.

Education first, fines later

In a recent edition of The Resident, we reported that people who do not separate their rubbish correctly when using recycling bins could soon face a fine, issued by the GNR. Sousa feels that if it were possible to implement this scheme, it would be a good idea. “That is one of our main concerns,” he explains. “People need to be aware of how their behaviour affects the environment.”

For Sousa, however, education is the key to solving the waste and recycling problems in the Algarve. “We are distributing leaflets in the Quinta do Lago area, explaining exactly how to use the recycling service which we have installed.” He feels that it is only after explaining how a system works that you can fine people for misuse. “If a person is not made aware of changes to the wastage system, then they will not know how to use it.”

For Sousa, fines are a last resort option, and he is happy that, in Quinta do Lago, people are using the bins properly. He is also confident that, by the end of the year, InfraQuinta’s latest improvements will be fully operational, ensuring that the resort retains its five star image – even when it comes to water and waste disposal.