Investing in a sustainable future: Municipality of Lagoa encourages locals and tourists to help conserve water

“Everyone’s help and collaboration are essential for Lagoa”

– April 15, 2024 | Text Beatriz Maio
Câmara Municipal de Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal©Bruno Filipe Pires/Open Media Group
©Bruno Filipe Pires/Open Media Group

The Algarve is on alert and risks entering a state of calamity in the second half of the year because of the drought.

As such, authorities across the region are now focusing on reducing consumption, rationing water resources, and raising public awareness.

The urgent situation has led Lagoa City Council to call on locals and tourists alike to save water. The council also announced immediate measures in various services, including water and sanitation, gardens, legal and municipal supervision, logistics and maintenance, municipal works, cleaning, and the environment.

Depósito de Água Lagoa (by Filipe Lima)
©Filipe Lima/Open Media Group

“Everyone’s help and collaboration are essential for Lagoa to become an example to follow and continue to prove that it is possible to reduce wasteful water consumption,” stressed mayor Luís Encarnação, emphasising that “every little action counts, no matter how small”.

The Council’s concern with this matter is not new, and it has been trying to reduce municipal impact from year to year and month to month, through a series of initiatives not only for residents but also for thousands of tourists who visit the area every year.

Campanha Turismo de Portugal Sensibilização contra desperdício de água no Algarve - ©Bruno Filipe Pires/Open Media Group
©Bruno Filipe Pires/Open Media Group

“Two water-saving awareness campaigns will be promoted, one specifically aimed at the tourism sector, namely for companies in the industry and tourists, and the other for the general public,” the municipality revealed. To reach a wider audience, Turismo de Portugal (the national tourism board) is running a unique campaign. On arriving at Faro Airport, visitors will be surprised by transparent suitcases and carry-ons filled with water on the baggage carousel, with a call to help the region save water, whether by taking quicker showers or swapping swimming pools for the beach.

In addition, Lagoa City Council intends to promote different means of communication, whether in person, online, or by telephone, to better reach citizens whenever they detect situations related to leaks in the water supply network, improper connections to the public water supply system, or to collaborate in reporting other occurrences.

Lagoa Auditorium, Auditório Lagoa (by Filipe Lima)
©Filipe Lima/Open Media Group

Savings and cuts in consumption are essential so that the Algarve doesn’t run out of water, a major concern for Lagoa City Council. In 2023, compared to the previous year, the municipality reduced its use of water purchased from Águas do Algarve (the regional water authority) by 3.8%, evidence that shows it is possible, with everyone’s help, to change course and help the environment.

According to the data, in 2023, the highest percentage of water consumption was registered among non-domestic consumers, and it also falls on hotel units to invest and encourage better practises to contribute to the urgent need for savings.

However, Lagoa City Council can also help reduce the numbers, which it will do through investments that “will enable more rational management of the water supply networks, which will materialise in the reduction of supply failures, the volume of unbilled water as well as real and apparent losses, the volume of water imported by the system and improvement in the quality assessment of relevant indicators of the Water and Waste Services Regulatory Authority (ERSAR)”.

Igreja Matriz de Lagoa, Algarve - ©Paulo Garcia Martins
©Paulo Garcia Martins

Over the years, there have been several breakages that have contributed to high actual water losses in the supply system. Given that it shows insufficient levels of performance in real water losses, unbilled water, and pipeline rehabilitation, the Municipality has been implementing a combat strategy based on the methods defined in the Strategic Plan and the Tactical Infrastructure Asset Management Plan of the Municipality of Lagoa, to promote water and energy efficiency.

Since March 2022, the city has adopted tactics to respond to the drought, focusing on reducing water consumption in the urban sector. As such, it has limited the watering of the municipality’s green spaces, the maintenance of municipal buildings and decorative fountains, urban cleaning, the washing of municipal vehicles, installed flow regulators in municipal markets, and applied restrictions on beaches as well as in the water and sanitation sector.

As a result, it succeeded in reducing real water losses by 7.7% from 2022 to 2023.

The scenario in the south of the country, described by the government as “particularly critical”, raises the possibility that the supply of water for human consumption in the region will be severely compromised if water use continues at current levels.

Nevertheless, Lagoa City Council has hope for the future and has an optimistic outlook for the coming years, believing that the implementation of water efficiency measures and the set of investments in the installation of Metering and Control Zones in the municipality and the renovation of water pipes will be decisive in reducing wasteful water consumption.

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Author: Inside Magazines

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