“It is not the problem of drought that is worrying, it is the low level of the reservoirs, particularly in the south of the country and even more so in the eastern Algarve,” said João Pedro Matos Fernandes, when asked about the current drought situation in Portugal.

The latest drought index from the Portuguese Sea and Atmosphere Institute (IPMA) indicates that mainland Portugal remained in a moderate drought situation at the end of August, being occasionally severe in the lower Alentejo and Algarve compared to July.

“The drought levels at the end of the summer are very common to what has been happening in recent years, the drought is measured on the ground, not in the reservoirs, so we are in a scenario of weak to moderate drought, with some small areas where there is extreme drought. But in saying this it might seem that the situation is of little concern, but there is concern and we should be concerned,” the minister said.

The minister, who was speaking on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of the project “National Roadmap for Adaptation 2100 - Assessment of the vulnerability of Portuguese territory to climate change in the 21st century,” also stressed that the drought, south of the River Tagus, “is no longer a cyclical thing” (from years when it rains less), but “is really structural.

“Therefore, we have to have background actions, and the main background action is efficiency, that is, saving more water, spending less water on the various uses we make of it,” he argued.