Water reserves rise in the Algarve, but total only 44% of the reservoirs’ total capacity

Water reserves rise in the Algarve, but total only 44% of the reservoirs’ total capacity

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The well-watered Easter weekend with rain allowed water reserves to increase in the Algarve. According to data released this Wednesday by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), the precipitation recorded since March 25, in mainland Portugal, “allowed a recovery of around 36 cubic hectometers (hm3 ) in the main surface reserves in the Algarve region”, which “equivalent to 30% satisfaction of needs for public supply, agriculture and tourism”.

The six Algarve reservoirs have a total volume of 195 hm3 which “corresponds to 44% of the total storage capacity” and is equivalent to “a deficit of approximately 2 hm3 of stored water”, says the APA in a statement. Only two reservoirs are above 50% capacity (Funcho 54% and Odeleite 51%) and one is below 20% (Arade with 18%).

Therefore – and despite farmers in the region calling for a relaxation of measures to reduce water consumption – the environmental authority emphasizes that “the hydrological situation of extreme drought in the Algarve region still remains the most worrying at national level”. The APA states that it will carry out an assessment of the evolution of the real situation by the end of April and the projections for the following months “to determine the possibility of reviewing the conditions in force in the region”. Although, It will be the Government that decides whether to meet farmers’ requests or maintain restrictions to safeguard future availability.

The Santa Clara reservoir, in Odemira (southwest Alentejo) also continues to fill. This Wednesday it registered 26.6 Hm3 more than in the same period in 2023 and rose to the level of 111.06 meters.

As for global national data, reserves at the end of March were at “89% of total capacity”, with water availability exceeding 80% of the total volume in 56 of the 80 reservoirs, and only four are below 40%. According to the APA, “March 2024 storages per river basin are higher than the March storage averages for the periods 1990/91 and 2022/23, except for the Ave, Mira, Ribeiras do Algarve and Arade basins” .

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