After the increase in the volume of water available in the six dams in the Algarve, the hydrological situation and the respective projections will be re-evaluated to decide whether it is possible to ease the restrictions imposed in February to combat the drought in the region, said the APA in a statement.

Among the contingency measures applied by the Government to preserve the water available in the Algarve as much as possible is the reduction of consumption in the urban sector (15%) and in agriculture (25%), a sector that has already defended an easing of restrictions as it considers that the volume of water collected with the last rains allows this review in April.

“Since last March 25th and as a result of the significant rainfall recorded, particularly last weekend in mainland Portugal, there has been a recovery of around 36 hm3 [cubic hectometres] of storage of the main surface reserves in the region of Algarve, equivalent to 30% satisfaction of needs for public supply, agriculture, and tourism”, highlighted the APA.

The same source pointed out that the rains that fell during Easter week left the six dams in the Algarve – Odelouca, Arade, Funcho, and Bravura, in the Barlaventa (west), and Beliche and Odeleite, in the Sotovento (east) – with “a volume of around of 195 hm3 (corresponding to 44% of the total storage capacity)”.

“Compared to the same period of 2023, there is still a deficit of approximately 2 hm3 of stored water”, highlighted the APA, warning that, “despite the observed recovery, the hydrological situation in the Algarve region still persists as the most worrying at national level in terms of availability and also in extreme hydrological drought”.

The APA announced that in April it will carry out “the assessment of the hydrological situation and respective projections, to determine the possibility of reviewing the conditions in force in the region”, but without ceasing to “continue to ensure at all times the storage of the volume necessary for a year of public supply in the different natural origins used”.

The body supervised by the Ministry of the Environment also noted that, at a national level, reserves are at 89% of their total capacity and 56 of the 80 reservoirs subject to monitoring have water availability greater than 80% of the total volume, while four are below 40%.

“March 2024 storages by river basin are higher than the March storage averages (1990/91 to 2022/23), except for the Ave, Mira, Ribeiras do Algarve, and Arade basins”, the APA also said.

The Algarve has been on alert due to drought since February 5th, and the previous Government approved a set of measures to restrict consumption, namely a 15% reduction in the urban sector, including tourism, and a 25% reduction in agriculture.

In addition to these measures, there are others such as combating losses in supply networks, the use of treated water to irrigate green spaces, streets, and golf courses, or the suspension of the granting of titles for the use of water resources.

One of the sectors most affected by restrictions on consumption is agriculture and the Algarve's irrigation authorities have already appealed to official entities to ease the restrictions imposed on consumption in agriculture due to the drought after the level of reservoirs rose with the rains recorded at Easter.

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