water running from tap
Photo: Steve Johnson/Pexels

National “Don’t waste water” campaign begins in Algarve

“An open tap can waste 12 litres of water in just one minute. If each person wastes one minute of water per day in Portugal, that’s 120 million litres of water”

A national campaign to raise awareness about the country’s ongoing drought and dwindling water reserves has kicked off in the Algarve.

Entitled ‘Água é vida – não a desperdice’ (Water is life – don’t waste it), the campaign is being promoted by the Águas de Portugal Group (AdP), Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA) and the Regulating Entity of Water and Residues Services (ERSAR) with the financial backing of the Environmental Fund.

The main goal is to “promote practices which encourage the efficient use of water in the current context of drought and water scarcity.”

“Water, a precious resource essential to all aspects of life on Earth, is increasingly scarce due to the effects of climate change. It is time to take action. Structural solutions to combat scarcity are being implemented, but we all need to contribute to reducing water consumption by adjusting our behaviours, making appropriate use of the resource, and combating waste,” says a joint statement by the entities behind the campaign.

“An open tap can waste 12 litres of water in just one minute. If each person wastes one minute of water per day in Portugal, that’s 120 million litres of water, enough to meet the daily basic needs of one million people. Water is essential to life and deserves our full attention. Be more aware and avoid unnecessary expenses,” it adds.

The campaign is being promoted across the country, with a stronger focus on the regions most blighted by the drought, through several physical and digital outlets, from national and regional media publications to social networks, outdoor advertising, ATMs, public transportation and events in public spaces.

The Algarve was chosen as the location to begin the campaign as it is “the territory most affected by drought and water scarcity.” It will also help the campaign’s exposure, given that the Algarve’s population “nearly doubles in the summer”, giving the entities the opportunity to promote it at beaches, shopping centres and big regional events.

The regional initiatives will be organised by regional water authority Águas do Algarve (AdA), the Algarve municipalities association (AMAL) and the Algarve tourism board (RTA) with the help of several hotel and restaurant associations in an effor to “appeal to residents and tourists to not waste water.”

More information on the campaign can be found online.

One third of Portugal facing severe drought

At the end of May, around third of Portugal (36%) was facing severe or extreme drought, the two most serious levels, according to the Portuguese sea and atmosphere institute (IPMA).

Precipitation levels also dropped (35%) below May’s average, while critical levels of soil moisture were reported.

In the Algarve, authorities are moving forward with the construction of a desalination plant in Albufeira, which is said to be able to cover “one third of the region’s urban water needs”.

AMAL president António Pina likened the desalination plant to something of an “insurance plan” for the Algarve with a “good coverage rate”.

By Michael Bruxo

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