Rain improves water supplies, but the drought is not over yet

In only nine days, most of the reservoirs have recovered part of their volume, but not enough. Storm Felix is due to bring more rain and high seas until Monday

The rain that has fallen on the mainland since the end of February has already increased water storage in reservoirs. Of the 61 monitored reservoirs, 10 now have availability of more than 80% of their total volume (five more than on February 28) and 12 have availability of less than 40%, when at the beginning of the month they were less than 23%.

The situation, however, is still is not resolved, and even with storm Felix resulting in damage, especially in Lisbon, “the precipitation is not enough to say that the drought is over,” Francisco Ferreira, president of the environmental association ZERO, told DNF.

Especially in the south of the country, dam levels are still very low. In the Sado basin, for example, there are eight reservoirs that remain in this situation, such as Campilhas, which has only 7% of its total availability, Monte da Rocha (10%), Monte Miguéis (12%) or Vale de Gaio (22%). In the Tagus basin the most depleted reservoir is Divor, with only 16% of the volume, and in the Guadiana basin there are three with levels below 28%

In the same vein, Environment Minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes considers that it is necessary to continue to take care of water consumption because, although rain has been restoring water levels in dams, this has taken place very slowly “as he told reporters yesterday.

“We have to separate the country in half,” said the minister, quoted by Lusa. “To the north of the Tagus River, the dams are very close to their maximum capacity and some have already reached them,” he told reporters, at a conference on climate change organized by the Order of Engineers.

Already in the south of the country, although there are “water slots every day”, there are still worrying situations, such as the Monte da Rocha dam in the municipality of Ourique, which supplies “a vast group of inhabitants”, and that is still only 9.6% of its capacity, said the official, noting that “the soil was very dry and absorbed a lot of water.”

Therefore, he stressed, although the weather forecasts are more rain for the next few days, “the concern about drought and the responsibility of each one does not change at all.”

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