Zoomarine takes water from iconic Salgados lagoon

Guia’s Zoomarine theme park has started taking water to refill its massive marine animal tanks from birding paradise Salgados lagoon.

It makes “much more practical, ethical and ecological” sense than taking water from Albufeira marina, the park’s marine biologist told Barlavento newspaper.

Élio Vicente revealed the change in Zoomarine policy, stressing that several environmental authorities had to sanction the deal, including regional development commission (CCDR Algarve), the Portuguese environmental agency (APA), the regional agriculture board (DRA), the councils of Silves and Albufeira, water authority Águas do Algarve and maritime police.

Zoomarine also had to join forces with the University of the Algarve, to carry out various studies which were then passed on to APA.

The beauty of the Salgados’ solution is that the theme park has a plentiful supply of natural salt water, said Vicente, pointing out that in the past there was even a time when Zoomarine had to buy fresh water and then add “tons of salt” to it, before it could be accepted by the resident animals.

The new solution is basically intended only to replenish water lost from the tanks through evaporation, though it can also be used for “any other motive”, Vicente added.

The water is drawn from “several metres below the surface” and then pumped through a four kilometre-long pipe, being filtered along the way.

The pipes run alongside pipes that connect to the Albufeira water treatment plant (ETAR).

The park guarantees that the new process does not pose environmental risks and ensures there will always be “enough water left” in the lagoon so that its rich selection of birdlife is not affected.

Zoomarine opened in 1989, delighting audiences with dolphin, sea lion, seal and turtle shows. It has become one of the most well-known and popular marine parks in Europe, getting multiple positive mentions by Tripadvisor. It is also home to a marine life rehabilitation centre.