i01: Algarve Regional Water Efficiency Plan (200 M€)
This investment, the implementation of which will be coordinated by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), results from the Basis of the Algarve Regional Plan for Water Efficiency (PREH), with the involvement and commitment of the administration and main stakeholders with a direct interest in the implementation of solutions and verification of their results.
The measures identified below are complementary and coordinated to ensure the necessary resilience to the effects of climate change: about 40% of the projects aim to increase water efficiency, 34% to improve drought adaptation processes, 15% to contribute to environmental objectives and 11% to improve coordination (including dissemination of good practices):
- Reduce water loss in the urban sector through the renewal and refurbishment of degraded or technically deficient infrastructures, focusing particularly on downstream systems (with the greatest potential for reducing actual losses, i.e. those that have not yet reached national targets) and on implementing monitoring and control areas in the systems;
- Reduce water loss and increase efficiency in the agricultural sector by modernising collective hydro-agricultural facilities, focusing on existing areas, adopting more efficient distribution systems, implementing remote consumption sensing, control and monitoring systems. It also includes improving the efficiency of individual irrigation schemes through the installation of more efficient irrigation systems with consumption monitored and tracked;
- Improve the governance of water resources (monitoring, licensing, supervision and awareness-raising), invest in enhancing and modernising monitoring stations and installing telemetric meters at the main consumers, complemented by an assessment of water use for irrigation through remote sensing, which will enable regular monitoring of irrigated areas and estimation of abstracted volumes, providing indispensable information for the decision/management of abstraction titles (new or existing) and their supervision. This also includes a commitment to implementing ecological flows in the Bravura and Funcho-Arade reservoirs.
At the governance level, it will integrate the monitoring structures identified in the next point: Implementation;
- Promote the use of Treated Wastewater (ApR) by identifying potential users of this non-potable water source, especially in economic activities linked to tourism, agriculture and public spaces. For areas with greater potential, wastewater treatment plants will be upgraded to a suitable quality level, with lifting, storage and distribution infrastructures built to allow the substitution of other sources of drinking water or the use of own catchments, in compliance with the legal framework that regulates the production of ApR, and its use, in order to promote its correct use and avoid harmful effects on health and the environment, following the guidelines of the proposed European Regulation on this matter;
- Increase the available capacity and resilience of existing reservoirs/upstream systems and reinforce them with new water sources, namely by improving the connection between the Sotavento/Barlavento Algarvio water supply systems, increasing inflows to the Odeleite reservoir and optimising the use of its storage capacity, allowing part of its dead volume to be used. In particular, this is expected to be achieved by increasing inflows to the Odeleite reservoir by means of abstraction from the Guadiana River;
- Promote seawater desalination with a water desalination plant to complement the other supply enhancement measures and allow modularity and the possibility of additional increments in water availability to mitigate future risks.