The BE party has put forward a bill requiring golf courses to be irrigated entirely with reused wastewater, while criticising the lack of government measures to tackle the serious drought situation.

Speaking to the Lusa agency, the parliamentary leader of BE, Pedro Filipe Soares, explained the general lines of this legislative initiative that the party presented in parliament, considering that the fact that Portugal is going through “the worst year of drought since 1931” is demonstrative of the “gravity of the situation”.

“It is true that the Minister of the Environment has always introduced other concerns, saying that the use of water has to be more considered in the future, but, in fact, from a legislative point of view, he does nothing to achieve these goals”, he criticised.

For the BE deputy, “keeping everything as it is with regard to water use” without introducing “efficiency and rationality criteria is to exacerbate the problem”, criticising the absence of measures on the part of the Government “on how to safeguard this fundamental resource”.

According to Pedro Filipe Soares, a good example of what can be done is precisely in the irrigation of golf courses and that is why BE intends that “the water used in irrigation systems for golf courses must come entirely from reused wastewater.”

Of the 78 golf courses in the country, 40 are in the Algarve region, an area where water scarcity is greatest, he said.

“A golf course can and must have water from wastewater treatment plants for irrigation systems. It makes no sense that drinking water is being used - which would possibly be used to give people or animals to drink”, he criticised, noting that there are areas in the Algarve where farmers have limited irrigation water.

The BE bill provides that no new golf course can be licensed and put into operation without a wastewater-dependent irrigation system.

A golf course, according to BE, "consumes around 400,000 cubic meters of water per year" and "only two in the country use water from Wastewater Treatment Plants for their irrigation systems", considering that is why the measure they propose is "one of the most obvious choices to promote greater efficiency in water management".

"According to data from the Algarve Water Efficiency Plan, 7% of the total water consumption in the region is carried out by golf courses, which shows the scale of the problem", according to the same project.