“We are gathering information from business associations linked to tourism to present a set of proposals for concrete measures to reduce water consumption, so that they become effective”, João Fernandes told Lusa.

According to Fernandes: “the measures do not address human consumption, but rather non-potable uses of water, such as the irrigation of golf courses and green spaces and the possibility of turning off ornamental water displays”.

“We have to stick to what our area of ​​action is and what we have been developing with the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) is the identification of contingency measures in tourist developments, with the objective of saving water in spaces of large consumption”, he pointed out.

According to João Fernandes, in a meeting held last week with the AA, the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) and the Associação dos Industriais Hoteleiros, Restauração e Bebidas (AIHSA), it was decided that the RTA would “send the proposals for consumption reduction this week”.

“Entrepreneurs look at the management of this scarce and increasingly expensive resource as a need to become more efficient”, said the official.

Change in habits

Among the measures recommended by the RTA is “intensifying the awareness of tourists for the efficient use and behaviour of water management, such as avoiding daily changes of bed and bathroom linen”.

“It is a behaviour that must be adopted not only by tourists, but also by residents themselves”, he underlined, recalling that the RTA has a campaign running to give water saving tips to people.

João Fernandes recalled that the Algarve has been implementing and intensifying the application of part of the 52 measures identified for various sectors of activity, “contingency measures in the face of a prolonged situation of drought and the low level of water storage in reservoirs”.

“This has been especially fruitful in the area of ​​golf and since last year they have been intensified and generalised, as is the case of the change of grass to the warm season, improvement of drainage and irrigation, reduction of space for play and irrigation with use of wastewater”, he said.

According to João Fernandes, in the Algarve “there are two courses which have been using these good practices for more than 20 years and the idea is to extend this to a greater number of courses”.

“There are eight projects underway for this purpose, one of which has a license for two golf courses in the municipality of Castro Marim, with irrigation from the Vila Real de Santo António WWTP [Wastewater Treatment Station], whose entry into operation is planned for next year”, he concluded.