The lack of water in the Algarve has long been a concern for everyone. All in all, if on one hand we cannot control whether or not it rains or when it rains, on the other hand, municipalities can take measures to avoid unnecessary waste.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that water scarcity threatens the crops and the population in general. “In late 2019 and early 2020 – just before the pandemic – we went through an extreme situation. We had water in our dams for about two months, but it ended up raining and then we recovered the water levels in our dams. However, we have again registered very worrying numbers”, Luís Encarnação, mayor of municipality of Lagoa told The Portugal News.
As a result, at the regional level, some measures are being taken in terms of desalination, as well as in the capture of water from the Guadiana dam. Water scarcity “is a problem and we cannot ignore it, especially in the Algarve”, he said.
Furthermore, the Municipality of Lagoa announced to The Portugal News that will start the installation of ZMC's, which will represent an investment of 600 thousand € for the installation of ZMC's throughout the municipality.
“These ZMCs are essential to control the waste of water that we have in our water supply network. In this sense, we will start with the Porches and Alpochinhos areas and then our idea is to place these control areas throughout our territory. In the municipality of Lagoa, we have a water supply network of about 325 km”, said Luís Encarnação.
According to the mayor, there are a large percentage of water lost over the network, which is mostly due to ruptures, water that is lost in the irrigation of public spaces, but also because there are people who obtain water without paying for it. Furthermore, “the idea is to distribute these ZMC’s throughout the county so that we can understand exactly where and why we have these wastes”, he highlighted.
“Since we arrived at the municipal council, we saw the importance of replacing the pipes and, currently, the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) is a unique opportunity as it will allow funds - even though not enough - that are important for the project to be developed”, he said.
Regarding public gardens, the municipality is also working on more sustainable solutions. “We are implementing an irrigation monitoring system next to our gardens in order to optimise the use of water in public spaces. This means that every time the system has a certain level of humidity in the soil (due to rain), the irrigation system stops for a while,” he said. In addition, the municipality will replace natural grass with synthetic grass in areas where it is only decorative in order to save water.
“From a political point of view, it's not an investment that a politician likes to make because it's buried and nobody sees it. In addition, it will require tolerance because we will have to dig up everything in the municipality to replace the plumbing”, said the mayor.
Adding: “We will probably have to take out a loan to get the money, because the PPR covers a percentage, but it doesn't cover everything and we have to do it urgently. Furthermore, it is an investment that forces all political forces to understand its importance”.