From March onwards, restrictions on water consumption will be applied in the region to preserve reserves as much as possible, which are at below-average levels and would only last until summer if nothing was done, with the urban sector, including municipalities and tourism, having to reduce consumption by 15% and agriculture by 25%.

The mayor of Tavira, Ana Paula Martins, explained to Lusa that Tavira Verde, the municipal company in charge of public supply in the municipality, began on January 30th to evaluate the impact of reducing pressure in taps between 00:00 and 06:00, in various areas of the city, to understand the contribution of the measure to the 15% reduction.

“We are experimenting, in a phased manner, these reductions, which range from midnight to 6 am, and what we want to know is exactly how much we can save if we have this measure, and if we can extend the hours”, stated the mayor.

Ana Paula Martins said that the municipality is awaiting a resolution from the Council of Ministers that will regulate the restrictions to be applied in the Algarve, and that could be known on Thursday, to understand what measures it can further adopt to achieve the 15% reduction in consumption, because, she acknowledged, “it may not be enough” to reduce pressure.

“We are waiting for the resolution of the Council of Ministers to give us some comfort, we also have to study some issues in terms of legislation to understand if we can apply cuts greater than 15% to those who have two meters, which are normally the pool meters and for gardens”.

Asked whether the reduction in the consumption of second meters would be total, the mayor of Tavira replied that “it would have to be more than 50%” and could “almost be around 70%”.

“In terms of increasing the tariff, for now, we would not accept the recommendation from ERSAR [Water and Waste Services Regulatory Authority], because we think it still doesn’t make sense,” she said, stressing that the proposal to increase prices made by the entity that regulates the sector “is not binding” if the resolution of the Council of Ministers does not specify anything on this matter.

“But, for now, the municipality and the private partner intend to focus on other issues, such as involving people and getting them to really save. I think people are more sensitive to this than to the increases”, she explained.

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