Speaking to Lusa agency, the association’s president, João Garcia, explained that “to face the drought, with significant effects” on the crops covered by the irrigation perimeter in the Barlavento do Algarve, “reductions were defined for some types of crops”.

According to João Garcia, the first of four levels of the contingency plan has been activated, which “sets priorities, namely for permanent crops, such as citrus, the most representative sector in the area”.

“We are going to guarantee the supply of water for permanent crops, although with maximum allocations of 5,000 cubic meters [m3] per hectare and the interruption of supply on Sundays”, he added.

The head of the association that supplies water to 1,800 farms, in an area of ​​2,500 hectares, also indicated that, if the maximum allocations are exceeded, farmers “are subject to penalties that are reflected in the price per m3 of water”.

“Two levels were defined for the consumption limit, the first ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 m3 per hectare, with a penalty of another three cents per m3 and five cents from 7,000 m3 onwards”, he noted.

João Garcia stressed that the measures “aim to avoid excess consumption, at a time when everyone needs to make efforts to maintain levels in the Arade reservoir”.

“Our situation is not as serious as others, but we have to start saving now, because if there is not a rainy winter, possibly next year we will have a very serious situation in our perimeter”, he predicted.

According to João Garcia, the region of Silves, Lagoa and Portimão, covered by the association, “is in a situation of moderate drought, with water available for this year's agricultural campaign”.

“The existing water means that there are no production losses, because we will be able to guarantee the resources for the cultures to develop”, he assured.