Portuguese government rations water in Algarve due to drought | Science & Planet

According to the Portuguese government, 36 percent of Portugal is currently experiencing severe or extreme drought, especially in the Alentejo and Algarve regions, in the south of the country.

“In the Algarve’s Odeleite and Beliche reservoirs, water use for agriculture and golf courses will be reduced by 20 percent,” said Portuguese Environment Minister Duarte Cordeiro after a meeting of the drought commission Thursday evening. For gardens or golf courses with systems to reuse water, that reduction is increased to 50 percent.

The government has also announced that it will set up a task force on water resources in the Algarve. It will be made up of members of the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA) and the Agriculture Department and will review permits for water extraction in the region. The commission will review which permits can be revoked to reduce groundwater use by 15 percent, Cordeiro said.

During a meeting of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, Portugal has already officially submitted a request to the European Commission to release funds from the agricultural reserve, said Portuguese Agriculture Minister Maria do Ceu Antunes.

According to the European Earth observation system Copernicus, 91.9 percent of Portugal is suffering from drought. The alarm phase applies to 25.8 percent of these. The Iberian Peninsula is the European region currently hardest hit by the drought.