Speaking to Lusa, the regional director of Agriculture and Fisheries (DRAP) for the Algarve, Pedro Valadas Monteiro, said that although some groundwater levels are below 25%, “dramatic situations have not yet been reported” to regional services.
“There are one or two indications of some loss of quality [due to the low levels of groundwater reserves], but we still don't have situations of salt water, we haven't reached that point yet”, he indicated.
The risk of saline intrusion into groundwater reserves is greater in aquifers located in coastal areas due to phenomena related to climate change, such as rising sea levels, but also to the greater frequency of droughts and lack of rainfall in Portugal.
For Pedro Valadas Monteiro, the hot weather, the little amount of water in the dams, the decrease in groundwater flows, and the forecast of no rain for the coming months "leaves several uncertainties for the future of Algarve agriculture", which led him to appeal for the conscious use of water, an increasingly scarce resource.
The official recalled that last April was one of the hottest since 1931, with the Algarve registering heat waves with temperatures above 30 degrees, registering a decrease of about 7% in the storage of water in the dams.
“Faced with this reality, we must all make judicious and conscious use, not only in the agricultural sector but in all economic sectors in the Algarve and for domestic consumption”, he warned.