Water resources expert says private companies must pay their share to combat drought

WATER RESOURCES EXPERT SAYS PRIVATE COMPANIES MUST PAY THEIR SHARE TO COMBAT DROUGHTYesterday, at the “Water Resilience in the Algarve - our common purpose” conference in Lagos, a water resources expert warned that private companies must pay their share towards measures against drought in the Algarve, without expecting the State to assume all the costs.

“There is a component of these works to combat drought that, eventually the State can support financially, because they are a generalized benefit, but there are private benefits that have to be borne by themselves”, stated the university professor and researcher in water resources Rodrigo Proença de Carvalho.

The expert highlighted the need to start debating “the benefits of using water”, namely its environmental and economic costs.

“We have to be aware that, obviously, water provides economic benefits to those who use it and these people, to the extent of their ability to pay, have to contribute to the management of water resources”, said Rodrigo Proença de Carvalho.

The professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico of the University of Lisbon argued that “it cannot be assumed that it is the State that finances all the works”, stressing that there is a need to identify “which works are worth it or not”.

According to the official, it is clear that works must be carried out to increase water availability in the Algarve, which will provide “benefit and social well-being for the region”, but it must be discussed how they will be paid for.

The expert also insisted on the need for integrated management of surface and underground water resources, with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of water use and the sustainability of ecosystems and nature.

“Saving water, this is an obvious investment that does not have very high costs”, said Rodrigo Proença de Carvalho, at the end of his speech during the section “Droughts, scarcity and water availability in the Algarve”.

The conference, which brought together several experts in the field of water resources, was organized by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) and the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL), in partnership with the Lagos City Council.

The Minister of Environment and Energy, Maria da Graça Carvalho, guaranteed last week that, even with restrictions being eased, the Algarve will have water for consumption this year, stressing that the Government will be attentive to “if we need to tweak here and there”.

On February 5th 2024, António Costa's government declared an alert situation in the region due to the drought, but at the end of May, the current prime minister, Luís Montenegro, announced the easing of restrictions imposed on agriculture and the urban sector, which includes tourism.

With the revocation of the previous Government's resolution, the new executive updated the restrictions imposed on water consumption, which went from 25% to 13% in agriculture and from 15% to 10% in the urban sector, however, approval is still awaited of a new resolution in the Council of Ministers.

Source Lusa

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