Catastrophe avoided - water levels in Alentejo dams save regional agriculture

santaclaradamThe highest rainfall for nearly 20 years has restored water levels in the dams of the Alentejo and prevented a "catastrophe" for farmers but this water must be "used efficiently," warns the Portuguese Environment Agency.
 
"It was a blessing that fell from the sky" and, "at this moment, water availability is greater for agriculture, but not unlimited," said André Matoso, director of the Alentejo Hydrographic Regional Administration.
 
With the drought, said Matoso, priority public supplies were not at risk but if the end of February scenario had continued, there certainly would have been areas that could not be irrigated.
 
"This catastrophe we were facing, fortunately, is completely averted. This rain water is stored and now we must manage it and use it sparingly," added Matos.
 
Rainfall since February 28 has been impressive and has altered the drought scenario that the Alentejo has been facing since 2015.
 
"It has rained twice as much as it rains in a normal March," said the water expert, adding that in Portalegre, on February 28, "it rained more than in all of January."
 
As an example, the Monte Novo dam in Évora, which was down to 30% at the end of February, reached capacity on March 10.
 
The Monte da Rocha reservoir, in Ourique, which has dropped to 8% in February, now is at 26.4%, higher than the same time last year when it only reached 20%.
 
Another of the Alentejo’s lowest dams, Vigia, in Redondo, was at 15% of capacity in February and now is at 43%, higher than 35.7% this time last year.
 
"Alqueva also has gained a lot of water," reaching almost 80%, and "the same has happened at Pego do Altar and Vale do Gaio reservoirs in Alcácer do Sal, which already are over 50% full," said a delighted André Matoso.
 
"The fact that the reservoirs and the aquifers are progressing favourably, we must not forget the recent past. Now that the water is here, we have to preserve it."
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-1 #18 PeterG 2018-04-01 16:33
Quoting mj1:
so as the earlier quote says"An average golf course in Spain uses as much water as a town of 12,000 people."
and perhaps while you are awaiting this wonderful water awash world to arrive
we have now 36 golf courses in the Algarve

36 x 12000 means they are consuming as much water as a city of 432000 people..and you ask the rhetorical question about better water management ?.. well for golf courses the portuguese word is chega


The Algarve authorities continue to allow golf courses to be built. I think there really are too many already with each intrusive new development, like Ombria, adding to the water demand. As I have said all along, water resources are badly managed in the Algarve.

Just as harmful to aquifers as golf courses, are the thousands of hectares of new estufas for the red fruits craze, each one needing vast amounts of water from underground resources, leaving many normally OK boreholes dry as water levels sink....
0 #17 mj1 2018-04-01 15:40
so as the earlier quote says"An average golf course in Spain uses as much water as a town of 12,000 people."
and perhaps while you are awaiting this wonderful water awash world to arrive
we have now 36 golf courses in the Algarve

36 x 12000 means they are consuming as much water as a city of 432000 people..and you ask the rhetorical question about better water management ?.. well for golf courses the portuguese word is chega
-1 #16 PeterG 2018-04-01 11:38
Quoting mj1:
and how interesting the article says...

In the Algarve, water use increased over 10 times (10 X), in the last 5 decades (Table 1). Water for irrigation represents 3/4 of the total use. Aquifers supply 2/3 of total use. Wastewater represents more then 1/10 of water resources and could supply 1/3 of irrigation needs. Nowadays, the issues of water management reflect the existing economic, environment and social pressure "

has rainfall increased by a factor of 10, and when in is this wonderful "waterworld" all the ground water has been used up to spew out on keeping golf courses green what do we do then?

as I said earlier, "...it just needs better management. The new waste water plant in Olhao/Faro for example has not even planned to use the resulting grey water for agriculture or golf courses and is happy to dump the nutrient rich water into the Ria Formosa. The local water companies have high losses between supply and tap. There is much to be done but using the 'golf courses use all the water' argument is fallacious and ill-informed."

If we stopped wasting so much water, the region would be in balance.
0 #15 mj1 2018-04-01 10:34
and how interesting the article says...

In the Algarve, water use increased over 10 times (10 X), in the last 5 decades (Table 1). Water for irrigation represents 3/4 of the total use. Aquifers supply 2/3 of total use. Wastewater represents more then 1/10 of water resources and could supply 1/3 of irrigation needs. Nowadays, the issues of water management reflect the existing economic, environment and social pressure "

has rainfall increased by a factor of 10, and when in is this wonderful "waterworld" all the ground water has been used up to spew out on keeping golf courses green what do we do then?
-1 #14 PeterG 2018-03-31 22:54
Quoting mj1:
indeed it is about the alentejo and you still think the Algarve is awash with water...its a finite commodity very much so in hot countries and to waste it on golf course so a vibrant colour of green can be maintained is pure madness. May we ask where the information is to be found that say that the Algarve is water awash

There is an interesting study on groundwater systems here- https://www.easac.eu/fileadmin/PDF_s/reports_statements/Portugal_Groundwater_country_report.pdf
Also, "In the Algarve water resources are varied and abundant. However, the increased consumption over the last decades has added new problems for water management. Surface water, aquifers and wastewater have to be managed in an integrated and sustainable way" -
see http://www.wseas.us/e-library/conferences/2010/Faro/NAGB/NAGB-10.pdf
0 #13 mj1 2018-03-31 22:26
indeed it is about the alentejo and you still think the Algarve is awash with water...its a finite commodity very much so in hot countries and to waste it on golf course so a vibrant colour of green can be maintained is pure madness. May we ask where the information is to be found that say that the Algarve is water awash
-1 #12 PeterG 2018-03-31 16:29
Quoting mj1:
Peter G the headline of this article tells us "catastrophe avoided" that is hardly a headline that tallies with your comment the "Algarve is awash with water"


The article is about the Alentejo...
0 #11 mj1 2018-03-31 14:19
Peter G the headline of this article tells us "catastrophe avoided" that is hardly a headline that tallies with your comment the "Algarve is awash with water"

perhaps this from responsible travel org is worth consideration
Overview: Global Tourism, Coastlines, and Sinaloa
Just 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh and approximately 70% of this water is frozen in the polar ice caps (Stockholm International Water Institute - SIWI). Water is a finite resource – it is impossible to increase the amount of fresh water on our planet. However:
• Global water use has tripled in the last 50 years
• Demand for water is growing at twice the rate of the world’s population
• Demand for water exceeds available supply from sustainable sources in a growing number of tourist destinations;
• Climate change is expected to account for about 20% of the global increase in water scarcity this century (2050 Project).
• In 17 coastal and island destinations in the Caribbean and Mediterranean regions, the demand for water exceeds available supply from sustainable sources thus leading to water shortages.
• Globally, the world’s 32,000-plus golf courses use an estimated 9.5 billion liters of water per day to irrigate their greens.
An average golf course in Spain uses as much water as a town of 12,000 people.
0 #10 Al 2018-03-31 10:36
Despite all the negative comments below, this is indeed good news!!
-1 #9 PeterG 2018-03-31 10:27
[quote name="Filipe Jorge"]With respect, this is garbage. Statistically, Portuguese nationals are the highest number of, and spenders, re. Algarve tourism. The golfing is widespread and attractive for foreign visitors, yes, but that is an unfortunate result of foreign exploitation. The environment cannot take the number of golf courses... some should be closed, and new ones banned.

___
With respect, this is garbage. There are far more foreign tourists than Portuguese ones. This number of foreign tourists reached 10.18 million in 2015, while the number of domestic tourists rose to 7.3 million. The environment may not be able to take more tourists, not more golf courses which are an essential part of offseason tourism. The Algarve is awash with water, it just needs better management. The new waste water plant in Olhao/Faro for example has not even planned to use the resulting grey water for agriculture or golf courses and is happy to dump the nutrient rich water into the Ria Formosa. The local water companies have high losses between supply and tap. There is much to be done but using the 'golf courses use all the water' argument is fallacious and ill-informed.

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