Drought: Government to allocate 5 Million Euros
The Environment Minister has today announced that the Government will allocate five million euros from the Environmental Fund to awareness campaigns and contingency solutions, in view of the drought situation that the country is currently going through.
img decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” src=”http://algarvedailynews.com/images/news2/20184.jpg” alt=”DROUGHT: GOVERNMENT TO ALLOCATE 5 MILLION EUROS” width=”160″ height=”107″ style=”margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 5px; float: left;” />The Environment Minister has today announced that the Government will allocate five million euros from the Environmental Fund to awareness campaigns and contingency solutions, in view of the drought situation that the country is currently going through.
“In the order of the Environmental Fund, which will be out next week at the latest, we will allocate five million euros from the Environmental Fund to awareness campaigns and contingency solutions that may have to be necessary”, said the Minister of Environment, João Matos Fernandes, on the sidelines of the final conference of the E+C Project – More Circular Economy, promoted by CIP – Business Confederation of Portugal, at the Thalia Theatre, in Lisbon.
Asked about the type of contingency solutions that may be necessary, the official gave the examples of transporting water in tanker trucks, of “small alternative solutions to be able to access water” and of “cleaning the bottom of some reservoirs to increase your water prism”.
In early February, the government restricted the use of several dams for electricity production and agricultural irrigation due to the drought in mainland Portugal. The Minister of the Environment said that there is a “well-defined” hierarchy on the main use of water from the reservoirs, which “is human consumption”.
For now, there are four dams whose water will only be used to produce electricity for about two hours a week, guaranteeing “minimum values ??for system maintenance: Alto Lindoso and Touvedo, in the district of Viana do Castelo, Cabril (Castelo Branco) and Castelo of Bode (Santarém).
“This is what we have to protect in the first line and it is protected, there is water in the reservoirs of Portugal for two years of human consumption if it never rains, which is obviously an unthinkable scenario”, siad Matos Fernandes.
For the governor, all other functions, such as electricity production and crop irrigation, although “certainly important”, are “less relevant” than human consumption.
According to the minister, the decision to suspend electricity production in dams is already showing results, especially up North with the Alto-Lindoso dam north of Porto registering an increase of two metres in the water level, and the Castelo de Bode just north of Lisbon showing a less substantial 12 centimetres.
Although not “desirable”, Matos Fernandes admitted that it is “possible” to extend the suspension period of electricity production, if the minimum water quota for two years of human consumption is not guaranteed.
“Whenever the quota of the same reservoir approaches this value, there can be no production of electricity, because, I repeat, the primary function of water use is human consumption”, stressed the Minister of the Environment.
“The drought situation in Portugal, as I have said several times, is not critical”, pointed out the governor.
Asked if the measures to deal with the drought should have been applied earlier, Matos Fernandes considered it “nonsense” to think that restrictions should have been imposed while there was water.
The first of five meetings, led by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), to assess the technical measures to be taken against the drought, takes place today in the Algarve, with further meeting scheduledin the other hydrographic sub-regions.
Speaking to journalists yesterday, Matos Fernandes said that, at the end of the meetings, in which Portuguese municipalities will participate, “most likely” “concrete measures to reduce and save water” will be put into practice.