In a year of drought, Pimenta Machado reiterated that the situation is “dramatic” in some areas of the country, with reserves below normal, but considered that the solution is not only to build more dams, but also to solve problems of waste, indicating that “irrigation systems waste more than 35% of water”.

As he explained, Agriculture consumes 75% of the water used in the country and more than a third continues to be wasted in losses in transport, due to the antiquity of the systems, many built in the 1950s, and considered that “the way is to make the systems more efficient”.

“What is needed is to modernise the channels. It makes no sense today to lose water through transport, so the focus is on efficiency, but also on finding new sources of water, for example using water from WWTPs [Wastewater Treatment Stations] to wash rubbish bins and streets”.

The vice-president of the APA was speaking at a forum on drought and irrigation, in Vila Flor, in the district of Bragança, and specified that Portugal consumes the equivalent of “two Alquevas” of water annually, with about 75% of this destined for irrigation in Agriculture.

In this sector, he highlighted two realities in the country, south of the Tagus and in the Northeast of Trás-os-Montes, where, according to him, “drought is structural and not a matter of water scarcity”.

“The way forward is for the sectors to be more efficient, we ask for more dams, and of course it is necessary to build more dams, but this year we are distressed not because we do not have dams, we have dams, they do not have water”, he defended.