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Algarve irrigators call for restrictions to be eased after recent rains

ALGARVE IRRIGATORS CALL FOR RESTRICTIONS TO BE EASED AFTER RECENT RAINSAlgarve irrigators are calling on the Government to ease restrictions on water consumption within the agriculture industry, imposed due to the drought affecting the region, after the level of reservoirs rose thanks to the rains over Easter.

Macário Correia, from the Association of Beneficiaries of the Sotavento do Algarve Irrigation Plan, argues that the latest rains in the Algarve have opened up space to review restrictions, whilst maintaining the focus on water efficiency.

João Garcia, from the Association of Irrigators and Beneficiaries of Silves, Lagoa and Portimão told the Lusa agency that the Algarve dams have more water than at the beginning of the year, when reductions were imposed on consumption in agriculture (25%) and in the urban sector (15%), and the water provided by the recent rains makes it possible to ease restrictions.

The president of the irrigation association of Silves, Lagoa and Portimão says that, in the western Algarve, contingency measures have been in place for two years, stressing that in November 2023 “the taps were closed”, and that farmers since then “have not used a litre of water”.

João Garcia said that the rains of January, February and the last days of March created a different reality from that which led to the implementation of the cuts, stressing that “a lot of water was replenished” in the reservoirs with the last rains, “both in the western and eastern areas”, and the levels are the same as in the same period of the previous year.

“In this sense, our expectations are that during the month of April we can meet as soon as possible to review the cuts and make more water available” to farmers, he argued. The APA (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente) also recently announced that during the first week of April it would contact associations in order to reassess the cuts announced before we had this rainfall in the Algarve.

João Garcia says that the rains recorded in recent weeks bring “a completely different perspective” to that which was the basis of the cuts applied, and that farmers in Silves, Lagoa and Portimão now hope to be able to “have more water” and “safeguard production”, which is at stake if the cuts continue.

Macário Correia pointed out that the measures applied in the leeward irrigation area of Algarve reduced consumption by 27%, compared to the same period of the previous year, and noted that, with the recent rains, “it will not be necessary to water regularly in the coming weeks ”, except for fertilizer watering.

“It therefore means that we will save water by irrigating less during this period, and this, associated with the increase in the level of reservoirs, paints a completely different scenario for the coming times”, he highlighted, stressing that the water stored in the reservoirs is the same as that there was on the same date in 2023 and, in the coming weeks, the rivers will still supply more water to the dams.

Macário Correia confirmed that the effort to manage water well and avoid waste must continue, because the “Algarve did not go from scarcity to abundance”, but feels that “the measures that were designed in January do not make sense at this time”, when there are reserves with levels similar to the same period in 2023.

“This means that now irrigation can be carried out almost normally and the Government must, together with the APA and the Directorate-General for Agriculture, take measures in the coming days in order to review things, relative to the current circumstances, instead of guidelines outlined in January and February”, he concluded.

Source https://postal.pt/


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