“The impact [of the rains] was quite asymmetrical in the Algarve, in the east, in the two large dams – Beliche and Odeleite –, we had substantive contributions”, Pedro Monteiro told Lusa, estimating a “positive variation in the reserves” of these two reservoirs, “from the 4th to today, of around 15%”.
However, in the western Algarve, the rain that fell “was less” and “the rainfall was lower”, with the average for the last week standing at half of that recorded in the eastern Algarve.
Pedro Monteiro pointed out that the sub-region of the Algarve where the most rain fell was the Central Algarve, where there are no dams, having fallen an average of 230 millimetres since the 4th, followed by the east, with about 200 millimetres, and the west, with an average of just over 100 millimetres.
“[The lowest rainfall in the west] It is something that, for the past two years, has been observed, significantly, contrary to what was usual. Historically, it rained more on the western side than on the eastern side,” noted the regional director.
Pedro Monteiro indicated that, with less rainfall, the western region has more difficulties to recharge water from dams or aquifers, which are the main sources of water for agriculture in the Algarve, “with 30 and 70%”, respectively.
“And this explains why the Bravura dam [in the western region] continues to have total storage values of less than 15% and is the dam that has the least water in the Algarve”, he justified, adding that the Odelouca and Arade dams also have values lower than 40%.
Data on water storage provided by the company Águas do Algarve, which refers to the dams of Odelouca, in the west, and Odeleite and Beliche, in the east, show that in the week of December 5th to 12th, the Odelouca dam rose the total volume from 31.11% to 32.56%, while the useful volume increased from 15.56% to 17.34%.
Last week's heavy rains had a greater impact on the accumulated water levels of the Sotavento reservoirs, with the total volume of the Odeleite dam rising from 29.54% to 49.60% and the useful volume rising from 15.82 % to 39.78%, according to Águas do Algarve.
Water shortages continue
The regional director of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Algarve warned, however, that, despite this increase in water storage, the Algarve “is still far from even close to a desirable situation, because it started from a situation that, in terms of levels, was very low”.
“Even a month and a half ago we had values below 20% and it has to rain a lot so that the level of dams and aquifers reaches a safe level, which will leave us feeling more relaxed”, he added, warning that “it is necessary to continue saving water,” and using this resource “very judiciously”.