Predicting a tendency to worsen the reduction in precipitation due to the expected effect of climate change, with likely significant impacts on the temporal and spatial distribution of water resources, on water quality and on the more frequent occurrence of significant droughts, the elaboration of the bases of the Plano Regional de Eficiência Hídrica do Algarve (PREHA) by the 14th of January Order No. 443/2020, was determined with the following objectives:
- a) Assessment of current water availability and consumption in the west and east of the Algarve and the establishment of prospective scenarios that take into account the effects of climate change;
- b) Establishment of water efficiency targets and time horizons for the main uses, namely those associated with the agricultural, tourist and urban sectors;
- c) Identification of short and medium-term measures that promote the reuse of treated water and water efficiency, as well as the critical factors for its success;
- d) Identification of structural solutions and new sources of water that complement the foreseeable decrease in the resource due to climate change.
PREHA comprises the implementation of 57 measures, complementary and articulated to ensure the necessary resilience to the effects of climate change: around 40% of projects aim to increase water efficiency, 34% improve adaptation processes to drought, 15% contribute for environmental goals and 11% to improve articulation (including dissemination of good practices).
Still at a critical stage of the pandemic crisis, and under the Collaboration Protocols signed between the APA (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente) and the 16 Municipalities of the Algarve, 46 Water Efficiency projects financed by the PEES (Programa de Estabilização Económica e Social) were approved with a total investment of €2,928,083 and expected to be completed by December 2021. The investment made is structured into two types of measures: monitoring/active control of losses and improvement of infrastructure and irrigation management technologies in green spaces.
During this year, the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente I.P. – Administração da Região Hidrográfica do Algarve (APA – ARH do Algarve), in partnership with ADENE – Agência para a Energia, AMAL – Comunidade Intermunicipal do Algarve, the company Águas do Algarve, the University of Algarve and DGESTE – DSR Algarve , promoted the 1st Training Workshop aimed at school communities interested in joining the social school network “EFICIÊNCIA HÍDRICA NA ESCOLA”, with the main recipients of this action being school community managers/teachers and technicians from local authorities/managing entities. It is intended that this network of schools can function in the region as a “laboratory of good practices” at the infrastructural and behavioural levels (e.g., networks, devices, equipment) which allows leveraging other dynamics and attitudes.
In 2021, the 1st edition of the “EFICIÊNCIA HÍDRICA NA ESCOLA” competition was held, with projects submitted by 33 schools in the Algarve from 9 municipalities, namely Alcoutim, Faro, Lagos, Loulé, Olhão, São Brás de Alportel, Silves , Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António and eight prizes and eight honourable mentions were awarded in the global amount of €97,000 financed by PEES and also awarded the prize AQUAMONITOR – GALARDÃO ADENE with the integration of the awarded School and respective municipality/managing entity in the Barómetro ECO.AP 2.0, in pilot phase during the year 2021.
The PRR (Plano de Recuperação e Resiliência), one of the fundamental instruments for the social, economic and environmental development of the country in the next decade also included an investment of 200 M€ for the implementation of PREHA framed in the structuring dimension “Resilience” in component 9: Water Management. This PRR investment consists of 6 sub-measures: Reduce water losses in the urban sector; Reduce water losses and increase efficiency in the agricultural sector; Strengthen resource governance; Promote the use of Treated Wastewater; Increase available capacity and resilience of booming reservoirs/adduction systems; Promote seawater desalination.
Finally, it should be noted that the implementation of the PRR is ongoing, having been launched a notice with an allocation of 14 million euros out of a total of 35 million foreseen for the sub-measure “Reducing water losses in the urban sector”, which aims the implementation of measurement and control zones and controlled pressure zones, as well as the rehabilitation of water distribution infrastructures with higher rates of real losses. The region’s water management entities responded positively to the challenge posed surpassing the notice’s allocation so that during 2022 we will have the implementation of these projects in the territory crucial to achieve the 2hm3 reduction target in 2025.in the territory crucial to achieve the 2hm3 reduction target in 2025.