National Water Day (today) sees more dire warnings about Portugal’s vulnerability when it comes to the consumption of water.
ANP, the Portuguese association of Nature – working in association with Spain’s World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – stresses that everything must be done to preserve healthy aquatic ecosystems, particularly in the Algarve where “structural situations of scarcity” are increasing.
The way ahead is not to ‘react to emergencies in times of drought’, but to “focus on reducing consumption and increasing the efficiency of water usage”.
The latter exhortation could not be better phrased: earlier this year national water wastage was pegged at the horrific equivalent of 281 Olympic sized swimming pools per day.
Publishing its latest report: “Portugal’s vulnerability to drought and water shortages” ANP proposes businesses should consider water management as a strength within the company, even finding ways to ‘reutilise’ waste water.
Politicians too have to address issues head-on: diversifying supply origins, fostering irrigation efficiency and making any agricultural subsidies dependant on good water use – while everyday citizens can reduce consumption and opt to use products with ‘low water-use footprints’.
ANP’s warnings are not ‘new’. The NGO started the year telling us “Portugal is living on water it doesn’t have” (click here).
Now, in tandem with counterparts in Spain, ANP is basically saying it’s time for governments to adopt ways to try and prevent water shortages, rather than simply react when they occur.
The Algarve and Alentejo are both already suffering “significant impacts” as a result of water shortages. Says today’s statement, farmers are making less money (due to low crop yields); there is an absence of fresh pasture for cattle/ sheep/ goats and this in turn means there is less feed available for livestock.