Odeleite dam, one of the most affected by the drought

Measures limiting private water use “not necessary yet” – minister

When they are necessary, government “will not hesitate”

Portugal’s minister of the environment and climate action, Duarte Cordeiro, has ruled out the need for restrictions on water consumption, despite the country being classified as in 89% drought.

“There is no point in introducing a prohibition culture when it is not yet necessary”, Mr Cordeiro told reporters, stressing the “drought situation (…) is being mainly experienced in the south of the country.

“When it is necessary, we will not hesitate – as happened when we limited, for example, certain dams in the Monte Rocha area, and the decision taken by the agriculture minister to limit new agricultural explorations in the Mira (river) area”, he said.

The minister was being quizzed by journalists on possible restrictions, for example for private swimming pools. The answer is a definite no… for the time being.

Mr Cordeiro stressed that the most critical areas are the western Algarve and coastal Alentejo (where the bulk of intensive agricultural projects operate drawing water from the now deeply-compromised Santa Clara dam).

“Some exceptional measures have already been taken,” he recalled – referring to decisions made last month, “because at the moment we have to take water from a level below the level at which we normally fetch water”.

But the minister’s position is that, “in general, at this moment, the country has more water available than it had last year” – with an average level of 80% of water in reservoirs, albeit this is spread “unequally”.

Source material: LUSA