Drought and tourism to see water bills rise

By Brendan de Beer, in Business · 24-01-2019 10:29:00 · 1 Comments
Drought and tourism to see water bills rise

The cost of water could rise during periods of drought. According to a new proposal which, if approved, will come into force in two years from now, condominiums and properties covered by local lodging will also see their water bills increase. Large families will meanwhile see their tariffs reduced.

The proposal, which includes a stipulation to have water costs vary according to the time of day, as is the case with electricity, is under public consultation until 15 March.
Should the law be implemented, as is the government’s intention, the price of water will vary from council to council.
Towns and cities will be given the freedom to increase the cost of water during shortages caused by droughts or when consumption is at its highest. This could be particularly true of the Algarve during the peak summer months when the population here quadruples in some parts.
The document, compiled by the Water and Waste Services Regulatory Body (ERSAR), stipulates that properties carrying AL local lodging licences will see their tariffs adjusted upwards and will pay more than neighbouring properties used solely for residential purposes. According to the proposal, details of which were published this week by Jornal de Notícias, property owners at closed condominiums will also be asked to fork out more for their water supply.
On the other hand, families numbering five or more, will see their water tariff adjusted downwards.
The ERSAR report also allows for bi-hourly tariffs, similar to those currently in use by energy companies. This means water bills will be reduced so long as taps are running outside of predefined peak periods.
The first lines to this document were drawn up following the devastating drought of 2017, where on several days, fire trucks were called in to supply several communities with water after their taps ran dry.
Droughts have become more frequent and prolonged in Portugal, with a decrease in the annual average rainfall, which mainly affects the south.

Compared to the years which have followed since 1960, the annual average rainfall has decreased across the Iberian Peninsula.
According to leading climate expert Professor Filipe Duarte Santos, “in Portugal’s case, the decrease is around 40 millimetres per decade, which is a significant amount, equating to 200 millimetres of rain in half a century, or 20 centimetres of water.”
The numbers are particularly higher in the south.
Filipe Duarte Santos has also said that based on existing models and because of the advancing of the deserts in northern Africa, Portugal’s climate is becoming more and more like that of Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia.
The 2017/18 drought in Portugal has been considered the most intense, prolonged and worst of the last 100 years.
Environmental group Zero has meanwhile reacted to the proposal to vary water tariffs with a certain level of scepticism, and has said it should only be implemented alongside policies which encourage the saving of water resources, even in times of abundance.
Zero leader Francisco Ferreira also reminded lawmakers that the majority of water is used in agriculture, followed by industry and only then does human consumption come into play.
The environmentalist also said that a large percentage of water is also not billed, with local councils said to be the major culprits in water wastage.
Consumer watchdog Deco has meanwhile come out in opposition to the planned legislation.
The association argues that campaigns should rather be launched to increase savings, and says it would oppose consumers being asked to foot the bill in periods of drought.
In related news, water reserves at Algarve dams are up on the level they were a year ago.
Water company Águas do Algarve also said that the quality is guaranteed of resources at these dams.
The Odelouca dam, the largest supplier of water in the region, currently boasts a capacity of 35 percent, when a year ago it stood at less than 20 percent.
The two major dams in the eastern Algarve, Odeleite and Beliche have much higher levels, and currently stand at 66 and 60 percent, respectively.



Comments:

Instead of discriminating between different groups of people why not devote your energy to capturing the huge amount of rainfall often experienced in winter months?

by James from Algarve on 25-01-2019 01:45:00
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