On 3 March, the president of the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL) explained that the Algarve is in a “very difficult” situation due to the drought and currently, there are only two things to do, “wait for it to rain and to save water”.

António Miguel Pina warned that these solutions are the only ones that can help preserve existing reserves in the region until planned investments are completed to combat drought.

“I want to leave some ideas and concerns for the future because the present is really difficult and there are only two things to do: wait for it to rain and save. In the short term, that’s all there is to do”.

António Miguel Pina recalled that the region's existing public supply system “was sufficient” in the last 20 years to guarantee the needs of the urban circuit and irrigation perimeters, but stressed that the dry periods were four to five years old and the current one has already It's been going on for eight years.

The City Council of Faro and Lagoa have responded with a set of measures due to resolution no. 26-A/2024 approved by the Council of Ministers in February “to help maintain water sustainability in the short and medium term” in the region, both City Councils highlighted.

The City Council of Faro has suspended the use of public water for watering public green spaces, and has closed ornamental fountains, foot baths and showers in bathing areas to combat the drought in the Algarve, announced the municipality.

Among the set of initiatives implemented is the suspension of the use of public or drinking water for watering green spaces and public gardens, the closure of ornamental fountains and showers and foot baths in bathing areas, as well as the reduction of the renewal of water in public swimming pools.

The suspension of the use of public or drinking water for watering green spaces and public gardens has the exception of Jardim da Alameda João de Deus and the grass field of the athletics track, which are irrigated using borehole water.

At the same time, the frequency of washing streets, pavements, vehicles and municipal equipment will be reduced, “using for this purpose and whenever available, water from alternative sources”, the note reads.

The municipality says, that to ensure the survival of trees of monumental or unique character, a maximum of two monthly irrigations will be maintained in a drip system.

According to the municipality, these measures, which involve the shutdown of sprinkler irrigation, guaranteeing only the watering of those trees, allow total consumption to be reduced by 99.9% when irrigating public green spaces in the municipality.

To combat water scarcity in the Algarve, Faro City Council also announced that it is implementing water flow reducers in taps in municipal buildings.

Lagoa Water Cut Measures

The City Council of Lagoa followed with water-cut measures in a note published on 29 February. The approved response measures are aimed at tackling the drought situation in the Algarve.

The Deputy Mayor of Lagoa, Anabela Simão Correia Rocha, announced that from the date of publication of the measures which is 29 February 2024, the following are expressly prohibited:

  • The use of water from the public network or potable water extracted from other natural water sources for watering gardens and lawns on private property, subject to the exceptions necessary to ensure the survival of trees or monumental nature.
  • The washing of floors, patios, walls and roofs with water from the public network or with water extracted from other natural sources.
  • The use, between 1 June and 30 September 2024, of water from the public network for washing vehicles (light or heavy), motorbikes, quadricycles, scooters or similar, unless it is carried out in establishments licensed for commercial activity and which have water recirculation systems; use of sponges and buckets outside commercial establishments.

In addition, non-compliance with orders or lawful orders of the competent authorities, i.e. the municipal inspection services, carried out in violation of and during the validity of the above prohibitions, constitutes an administrative offence pursuant to Article 41 of the above-mentioned Council of Ministers Resolution no. Between 6,000.00 euros and 36,000.00 in the case of a legal person, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 22.2 and 22.3, (Framework Law on Environmental Offences), as currently in force.

It is anticipated that other municipalities will follow suit which is yet to be announced.