"We have a dam that is the Fontelonga dam, in Carrazeda de Ansiães that every month we count the cubic meters because we are waiting for the day that this dam does not have water to meet consumption needs," said the vice president of APA, Pimenta Machado.

Recently APA participated remotely in the conference "Sustainable use of water. Every drop counts", promoted by Jornal de Notícias, in which Machado said that something similar to was done for the Algarve region needs to be done.

The APA will move forward with the elaboration of the Regional Water Efficiency Plan for the region of Trás-os-Montes which, he warned, needs to adapt to the new climate reality.

"It is true that this year the northeast of Transmontano has a very difficult situation, I am really worried. It is another region that has to look at its systems and that has to understand the new reality that the climate brings and has to adapt," he said.

"Very soon, a meeting will be called. We will bring together all the municipalities and also agriculture and work together for the resilience of this region that, last year, experienced very complicated situations. With the same thing occurring in Viseu," he revealed.

The vice-president of the Portuguese Environment Agency acknowledged that, although Portugal is now better prepared for drought scenarios, "there are regions of the country that do not let them rest", and where water levels in dams stand at 14%.

"In Portugal we consume two Alqueva dams annually, six thousand hectolitres, with agriculture weighing 75% and the urban sector about 19%. And this year, despite the rains of December and January and even this month, it's been an above-average year.

We still have dams in this country with 14%. The Bravura Dam in Barlavento, which supplies three municipalities, is at 14%. Same thing as the Monte da Rocha Dam or if you want the Mira Dam," he said.

For Machado, Portugal's priority should be based on the commitment to efficiency in water management, although without prejudice to bet on new dams, new unconventional forms of water management and reuse.

"We have to make better use of the water we have. It is not acceptable to have systems that lose about 50% of their water. In addition to the environmental damage, there is also the economic damage," he said, recalling that in 2019, in the Algarve, when the Water Efficiency Plan was being drawn up, they were washing garbage bins with drinking water.

The idea of greater efficiency in the management of water resources was also defended by Joaquim Poças Martins who, as a specialist in the area of water management, considers that in the agricultural sector there is a long way to go and necessary to make significant advances.

Acknowledging the difficulties arising from interfering in a private activity, where each one decides what they want to plant, the former ruler and former public manager said that although the sector is responsible for 75% of water consumption in Portugal, this does not result in an effective gain, with the country being forced to import raw material to meet its needs.

"If we want to have cereals we need five Alquevas," he said.

Asked about the need to increase the price of water to curb wasteful behaviours, the professor argued that if there was efficient management in all public entities that manage water it would be possible to guarantee a "second generation without increasing tariffs", however, he predicted, "there is a time bomb" for which companies are not prepared for.

"There is a time bomb here, which is the aging of pipelines. They were built mainly in the 90s, they are approaching the period that begins to give problems and no entity is including in the tariffs the amount necessary to deal with this, "he warned.

In the agricultural sector, Poças Martins argues that in this case self-regulation should also go through the price to encourage savings, since in Portugal you do not pay to use the water from the well, so there is no incentive to save.

The former governor also highlighted as a good example the water management policies carried out by the mayors of the Porto Metropolitan Area (AMP) that lead to a significant reduction in water losses.

Underlining the importance of municipalities in this matter, the president of the MPA, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues defended that it is important to move forward with public policies to combat waste before the drought reaches the north of the country, leaving a warning that one can not think of management strategies in August when faced with a drought scenario.