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Your Algarve News Highlights - May 25th 2024

Your Algarve News Highlights - May 25th 2024

Dear Reader,

 

Here is your weekly news overview…

Environmentalists consider the ease of water consumption restrictions to be hasty

Environmental organisations say the Government is hasty in easing restrictions on water consumption in the Algarve, it is a decision that is “not justified” and that raises “concerns” for the coming months.

 

“It’s not justified. And it is giving a signal contrary to what should be given at the beginning of the season when more intense consumption is recorded”, Afonso do Ó, water specialist at Associação Natureza Portugal (ANP), partner in the country of the international “World Wide Fund for Nature” (WWF).

The measure announced by the Government also raises concerns for the Zero association, with Sara Correia citing the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) to say that the reserves only guarantee water until the end of the year.

On Wednesday the Prime Minister, Luís Montenegro, announced in Faro that the Government decided to ease the restrictions imposed on water consumption in agriculture, tourism and the urban sector of the Algarve. These restrictions are in place to reduce the severity of the drought in the region.

"Easing the measures at the beginning of summer, without knowing what the next few months will be like, could put the region in a position similar to other years", said Sara Correia, finding it strange that the Ministry of the Environment supported the decision.

“We are not very surprised that on the part of the Ministry of Agriculture there was this intention for the agricultural sector. But we are worried that the Ministry of the Environment will give the go-ahead, when until recently it said it was concerned about the situation,” she said.

Despite having rained in winter, the Zero manager highlighted that there are no guarantees of water for the coming months, when summer approaches and consumption increases.

Afonso do Ó also pointed out the future uncertainties to consider the Government's decision to be hasty and told Lusa news agency that in the Algarve region there was almost no rain in April and in May, “not a drop”.

The ANP representative also highlighted that restrictions on consumption in agriculture would not result in the death of crops due to lack of water, as long as there was rationalisation.

“From now until October we are in the dry and hot season and the announced decision was “political” and “technically not very justified”, said Afonso do Ó, regretting that every year the country enters the cycle of waiting for the sky to solve the problems of lack of water.

The official also considered that pointing out similar levels of reduction in supply for urban, agricultural and other uses goes against the prioritization of uses enshrined in the Water Law, and that it is “environmentally irresponsible” to consider similar reductions for systems that are at 23% or at double.

For Afonso do Ó, the Government's decision goes against the precautionary principle and “contrary” to the most recent climate change scenarios.

According to official reservoir storage data, referring to May 20th 2024, none of the reservoirs in the Arade, Ribeiras do Barlavento and Ribeiras do Sotavento basins exceeded 50% capacity.

 

 

Forecast for June's European Elections

The incumbent centrist parties are expected to keep control of the European Union parliament in the June 6th to 9th elections, despite a big swing to the far-right.

 

Ursula von der Leyen, the born-in-Brussels EU commissioner, has declared: “I am ready to keep serving our people and our continent with the passion, confidence and experience needed in these challenging times. I want to build a majority for a strong Europe, because we don’t have the luxury to be weak in the world. Let’s do it together. Let’s stand for democracy prosperity, and security. Let’s fight for our Europe.”

The elections will take place June 6th and 9th to choose 720 representatives for the parliament in Strasbourg. In Portugal, the election will be on June 9th to choose 21 parliamentarians. Because of their larger populations, eight of the 28 EU countries have more seats in the assembly. Germany tops the list with 96 seats. France has 81. The three smallest nations have only six each.

All of Portugal’s candidates have already been presented by their political parties or coalitions. They were required to be Portuguese citizens, Brazilians with an equal status of political rights, or citizens of other EU countries registered in Portugal. The full list is published (in Portuguese) on the website of the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It will also be published on June 9th in notices outside and inside the polling stations.

 

To be eligible to vote you need to be over the age of 18 and fit into one of three categories:

  • Portuguese citizens registered on the electoral roll of the national territory.
  • Portuguese citizens residing abroad who have not chosen to vote in another EU country.
  • Citizens of other EU countries registered in Portugal who choose to vote for Portuguese members of the European Parliament.
  • Brazilian citizens with a citizen’s card or identity card with equal political rights.

 

Polling stations will be in municipal council offices or at locations posted on notices in local council offices on voting day.

 

The biggest change within the EU in the coming elections is a strong shift to far-right populist parties. This will of course be to the detriment of the so-called “super grand coalition” of three centrist groups. A populist coalition of Christian Democrats, conservatives and radical right MEPs might even emerge for the first time as a majority.

 

The far-right Chega (Enough) party did remarkably well in finishing third in this year’s general election in Portugal. Other far-right parties are doing much better in other EU countries. The shift could be so significant that it impacts the ability of the European Commissions and Council to make foreign policy decisions, including implementing the next phase of the European Green Deal.
Of huge importance over the next five years of the next EU Parliament’s rule will be maintaining the continent’s defence security in view of the war in Ukraine, and uncertainty over the continuing allegiance of the United States.

Make no mistake, these are massively important elections coming up.

Written by Len Port 

 

Algarve: government eases water consumption restrictions

As of yesterday, the Government decided to ease the restrictions imposed on water consumption in agriculture and the urban sector of the Algarve, including tourism, put in place to face the drought in the region.

 

The decision was announced by Prime Minister, LuĂ­s Montenegro, at a meeting of the drought monitoring committee, in Faro.

 

“The Government decided to revoke resolution 26A of 2024, of February 20th, and in the coming weeks another resolution will be approved and published that aims to continue a policy of responsibility, but still ease the restrictions that are currently in place, given the situation in 2023”, said the Prime Minister.

Luís Montenegro indicated that the government will approve a “relief of around 20 cubic hectometres in the restriction that is currently in force in all areas of activity”, distributing this amount over “2.65 cubic hectometres of relief in urban consumption, 13.14 relief in consumption for agriculture and 4.17 relief in consumption for tourism”.

In February, the previous Government, led by AntĂłnio Costa, declared an alert situation in the Algarve due to the drought and applied contingency measures that provided for consumption reductions of 25% for agriculture and 15% for the urban sector.

Today, Luís Montenegro announced an easing of these restrictions, although stressing that it is necessary to preserve water as much as possible, which is “a scarce resource” in the region.

“What stands out here is a greater relief in the area of ​​agriculture, because it was also the area that had a greater restriction in relation to the situation in 2023”, he argued, justifying the Government's decision with the rains that have fallen in recent months and improved the general outlook of water reserves in the region.

Montenegro also said that these data represent, “compared to 2023, a decrease in availability of 10% in urban consumption and 13% in consumption for agriculture and tourism”.

“We take this measure aware of the evolution of the hydrological situation, which has been positive in recent months, aware that water is a scarce resource, which must be protected, preserved and managed well, aware that maintaining this policy also implies strengthening investments, in addition to all the monitoring that we did today and that we will also do next August, precisely, taking stock of the measures that we are now going to take”, the government official also stated.

Luís Montenegro warned that the drought situation still persists and there is a need to preserve water resources, considering that the Government's decision was taken from the perspective of “increasing in Portugal, and in the most problematic areas, such as the Algarve region, levels of water efficiencies” and promote “more responsible consumption”.

The Prime Minister also said that it is necessary to “reduce losses in the various uses of water” and resort to wastewater in cases where this source is viable, such as golf, ensuring that the Government's objective is also to promote investment that “can help to this more efficient management” of water.

 

 

Minister of Health guarantees that Algarve will have the resources it needs in the summer

Yesterday, the Minister of Health, Ana Paula Martins, guaranteed that the Government will provide the necessary means for the Algarve Local Health Unit (ULS) to implement the plan it outlined, to guarantee the assistance response in the summer.

 

Ana Paula Martins spoke to journalists after meeting with the leaders of ULS do Algarve, in Faro, and explained that, over the approximately four hours of the meeting, she collected information about the “additional means” that the Government can “activate”, through the Ministry of Health, to support the plan prepared by regional entities for the summer.

“What is foreseen in the Local Health Unit’s plan is to be able to respond with the means that it has already managed to activate and with a few more that we, naturally, will try to activate during the next few weeks”, said the government official, guaranteeing that she has “absolute confidence” in the work being done in the region to ensure this response.

Asked about the means that the Ministry of Health may have to use to guarantee support for ULS, Ana Paula Martins assured that they will be “those that are necessary”, stressing that, “in the Algarve people are already very used to living with those who are in the Algarve and responding to those who are in the Algarve”.

“This decision is foreseen in the plan and is a decision taken, therefore, as you know, in conjunction with the executive management of the National Health Service and with the Local Health Unit, which has a clinical director for the primary care area and a clinical director for the area of ​​hospital care”, she stated.

Ana Paula Martins indicated that there are rotation scales and models “that are different throughout the country” - and that those that “work well” will be maintained, but highlighted that “there are others that have already proven themselves, in some areas, that need to be improved”, with the Government paying “particular attention” to the regions of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo and Algarve.

“It doesn’t mean that the rest of the country isn’t very important, the entire country is very important, but these are two areas where the Government essentially focuses its attention, namely in the area of ​​emergency, which you mentioned very well here, pediatric or obstetric, therefore maternal or child, and naturally in what is the response to situations such as trauma, the situation of acute illness”, she said.

The Minister of Health also stated that she had “reinforced” her “absolute confidence” in the plan prepared by ULS do Algarve, but stressed that this plan must “be adjusted if there is suddenly a need” for resources, or to modify the response.

“And if there is a need, you can be sure that all the support that the Algarve region needs will appear”, she assured, arguing that the important thing is to have a plan and that it “suits the peaks of urgency”, more than the minister is saying the number of doctors or nurses needed.

 

 

Algarve Food Bank calls for the community’s “unity and help”

The Algarve Food Bank "Banco Alimentar do Algarve" are calling for the publics support, in donating and delivering food to those throughout the Algarve that need it.

 

On the 25th and 26th of May, the Algarve Food Bank is preparing to carry out another solidarity food collection campaign. 

 

In a statement, Nuno Cabrita Alves, president of the Algarve Food Bank, appeals “for everyone to unite and help in this cause”, emphasizing that "just one hour of your day will make a difference in the lives of thousands of Algarve families".

 

To participate in the campaign as a volunteer, you can sign up HERE.

Volunteers are essential in any of the 130 stores spread across all municipalities of the Algarve, to distribute bags and, later, receive the food with the donations. In the Faro and PortimĂŁo warehouses, volunteers will help unload food and separate it, fold bags, and other tasks.

Nuno Cabrita Alves adds that, "in addition to volunteers in stores and in the warehouse, we need food donations. At this time, all support is essential, as thousands of families are on the threshold of poverty."

Help can be provided in stores with food or vouchers, but also at https://www.alimentestaideia.pt/ with food donations, or through financial support at https://www.bancoalimentar.pt/faca-um-donativo, from May 24th to June 2nd.

The Food Bank asks that companies in the food sector, such as producers, industry and distributors, can please send their surpluses to the Banco Alimentar do Algarve.

 

 

Meteor spotted in the Algarve sky on Saturday night

A meteor was seen by many on Saturday night, observed “from the French coast to the south of the Algarve”.

 

Geophysicist Rui Gonçalves reported that two of the four cameras in Portugal on the AllSky7 network recorded the meteor seen on Saturday at around 11.45pm in Portugal, but said it was premature to say whether it fell and where. If it falls on the ground it is a meteorite, if it doesn’t fall it is a meteor.

 

The professor at the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar highlighted that it was necessary to “gather more data” to be able to calculate the trajectory.

 

Although it is now necessary to cross-check data, which takes time, he added that Spanish members of the network, benefitting from more equipment, say that “almost nothing fell from the meteor or ended up in the Atlantic”, according to preliminary data from the Andalusian Institute of Astrophysics.

 

In Portugal, the Tomar camera caught footage that is “very good”, in São Brás de Alportel the camera only caught “the beginning of the event” and in Braga and Sesimbra the sky was cloudy and only the glare was visible, with no clear image.

 

“Only after calculating the trajectory can we have any idea whether there is any material left and where it fell, but this is not immediate”, emphasized the geophysicist.

 

In Portugal, the passage of the “meter”, with “long duration and a long trail”, was observed at 11:46 pm on Saturday night. According to the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, in Spain, it was travelling at approximately 161 kilometres per hour.

 

The initial altitude of the meteor was recorded at 122 kilometers high and was no longer visible once it fell to 54 kilometres altitude, but Rui Gonçalves explained that this does not mean that it disintegrated at that time.

 

“They can shine up to 30/40 kilometres of altitude. Normally, you can't see it from there, it's called dark flight. This has to be calculated, and this part is more difficult to calculate, because we have to make a series of assumptions to calculate where the pieces may have fallen”, added the investigator, speaking to the Lusa agency.

 

He also explained that, like shooting stars - although they are much smaller - meteors are consumed in the atmosphere and it is from this chemical process that the trail of light is seen, and the blue flash “indicates that the type of material that is burning, vaporizing, is magnesium”.

 

“As they travel at several kilometres per second, against the air, the pressure that it creates in the atmosphere is so great that temperatures easily reach 25,000 degrees, and at that temperature it vaporizes everything”, he said.

 

 

Algarve residents get discount at Zoomarine until May 31st

Algarve residents can benefit from Zoomarine's “Resident” campaign until May 31st, which also allows one additional companion, resident or not.

 

 The 1-day entrance price for Algarve residents until May 31st is €22 euros per person aged 11 to 64, €12 for seniors (65+), and €12 for juniors under 1 metre or 10 years old.

 

To benefit from the discount, the Algarve Resident ticket can be purchased only at the park's online ticket office, upon presentation of mandatory proof of address on the day of the visit (e.g. bill for water, electricity, gas, communications, student card, lease contract, as long as it displays a printed address + valid identification document). The special price is applied to the resident and one additional companion, resident or not.

During this campaign period, Zoomarine will be open from Wednesday to Sunday, closed Mondays and Tuesdays until the end of May. It is recommended that you consult the park's calendar in advance: www.zoomarine.pt/pt/horarios/

‍OTHER NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:

‍More news next week!

 

Ed

 

The News this week is sponsored by Portugal Pathways:

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Currency Market Update - 20th May 2024

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Skin Care and Eye Care Presentations - Tavira, June 6th

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Rotary Club White Night 2024 - June 16th

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Charity Spring Concert - May 29th 2024

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Rotary charity golf tournament returns to Monte Rei Golf & Country Club

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Wolf Valley Charity Golf Tournament - June 1st 2024

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TOR ARTE Iberica Spring Art Show : Saturday 18 May - Sunday 2 June 2024

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afpop Events in May and June 2024

Here are some new events, scheduled for this May and June 2024.

 



 

Fundraising Fashion Show - June 9th

Join us for a fundraising fashion show in Cabanas de Tavira on Sunday 9th June 2024, at 12h30 to raise funds for local animal charities who strive to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome the gorgeous creatures who arrive at our shelters.

 

 

 

To see more info about events coming up in the next few weeks, check out

My Guide Algarve's event calendar

 

‍

For latest information and advice regarding crime, wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic, visit the

Safe Communities Portugal website

 

‍

Everything you need to know if you are moving to, living in or visiting the Algarve.

AngloInfo website

 

‍Have a great week, from the Algarve Daily News team!

 

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