The most serious situation is in the south of the country, said the official after a meeting of the Permanent Commission for the Prevention, Monitoring and Accompaniment of the Effects of Drought.

The forecasts of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) point to some precipitation in the coming weeks, which "will help the country", but will not change the drought situation, said the minister.

The Alentejo coast and the Algarve area, in particular the western part, are the most critical and areas with “greater stress” with regard to drought, said Duarte Cordeiro.

The reservoirs that are analyzed by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) are at 72% capacity, against 58% in August last year and 57% in October, at the beginning of the hydrological year.

“We are in a better situation than we were last year, but once again the situation is very asymmetrical in the country”, assumed the minister, adding that in relation to the Algarve the context is worse than last year.

The volume of water in dams in the Algarve is 30% less than last year, at this time of year.

Duarte Cordeiro said that measures to mitigate the effects of the drought resulted in a 14% reduction in water consumption for agricultural use in the eastern Algarve.

“We were also able to extend the use of recycled water to two more golf courses in that part of the territory”, he explained.

In terms of water consumption in the Algarve, the reduction was around five cubic hectometers compared to last year.