According to data released by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) for March, the first month with restrictions imposed by the resolution of the Council of Ministers to combat the drought in the Algarve, “Algarve municipalities did not exceed” the volume supplied in the same period of 2023, saving 884 thousand cubic meters of water.

The agricultural and golf sectors also used less water, consuming a total of 870,000 cubic meters less, compared to the same month in 2023.

Despite the reduction in consumption in all sectors, the Algarve remains in a situation of extreme hydrological drought, with very low levels of groundwater and surface reserves.

Of the 25 bodies of groundwater, 13 are in a “critical situation and the rest are under surveillance”, with most aquifer systems recording very low levels.

On March 31, the six reservoirs that supply the Algarve region - Bravura, Odelouca, Arade, Funcho, Odeleite, and Beliche - totalled a volume of 183 cubic hectometers (hm3), which corresponds to 41% of the total storage capacity.

In the same period, according to the APA, there was an increase of 32 hm3 in the storage of the main surface reserves compared to February, but a decrease of 14 hm3 remained compared to the same period in 2023.

However, speaking to Lusa, the interim president of APA, José Pimenta Machado, said that the rainfall in the first days of April increased the stored volume by 14.2 hm3.

"We are 200,000 cubic meters away from equalling last year's water reserves, but we must continue to save", warned the leader.

According to data provided by APA, of the 19 entities responsible for urban water supply in the Algarve, 15 of the 16 Algarve municipalities reduced consumption in March: Albufeira (-18.78%), Alcoutim (-38.89%), Aljezur (-14.40%), Castro Marim (-29.46%), Lagoa (-26.71%), Lagos (-14.52%), Loulé (-14.31%), São Brás de Alportel (-11.83%), Silves (-23.99%) and Vila do Bispo (-28.8%).

The reduction was also seen in all municipal urban supply companies: Infralobo (-37%), Inframoura (-30.59%) and Infraquinta (-24%), in the municipality of Loulé; Águas de Vila Real de Santo António (-10.55%), AmbiOlhão (-14.8%), EMARP/Portimão (-10.85%), Fagar/Faro (-11.02%) and TaviraVerde (-11 .16%).

With higher consumption, although slight, is the municipality of Monchique (+0.02%).