The mayor of the municipality, Fernando Queiroga, appealed to all residents to "exercise restraint and rational consumption of water, without exaggeration or waste, to prevent the water tanks for public supply from continuing to fall dramatically.

Although the situation is, for now, "under control", the mayor was concerned and told Lusa news agency that recently, due to the reduction of water in some springs it was necessary to fill the supply tanks of three small villages, using the Municipal Civil Protection's tanker truck.

These are still, he explained, "sporadic situations", but "worrying signs" of the drought that is affecting the whole country.

"It's not every year that we have this problem, and when it appears it's normally in September. It's already happening in February, an unthinkable situation that has never happened in our municipality", he stressed, recalling that it is a territory "with a lot of water and many springs".

Fernando Queiroga described "reduced river flows" in the middle of winter, and situations in which there is a lack of grazing for livestock, at a time when "the marshes should be flourishing" and when producers are already using the fodder (hay and straw) stored.

"Which is not normal because at this time cattle should be grazing freely," he said.

The president of the Boticas Agricultural Cooperative (CAPOLIB), Albano Álvares, stressed that, due to the prolonged drought and frost, "there is, purely and simply, no pasture".

"The animals are being fed with hay, potatoes and cereals because, at the moment, pastures don't exist. At this time we should have the rivers, streams and water lines overflowing and everything is dry. There are springs without water and I don't recall a drought this prolonged at this time of year", he told Lusa.

Worried by the situation, Albano Álvares said he hoped that any support measures that may be implemented would extend to this part of the country.

Thus, given the "long period of no rain and the consequent reduction in the volume of flows of the various sources of water that supply the county", the municipality recommends the population "prudence" and calls for "rational water consumption".

If the situation continues and the flows are not restored with the next rains, the mayor even admits that the municipality will implement some restrictive measures.

"The technical services of the municipality will do everything to respond to a possible situation of shortage, which I believe we will not face, but we cannot exclude some restrictive measures to water consumption if this drought situation gets worse and the rain, or the lack of it, does not allow the necessary replacement of flows", he said.

Fernando Queiroga also said that the municipality and Civil Protection will constantly monitor the situation.

According to the forecasts of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere, there is "80 percent probability" that 2022 will be a dry year, and existing forecasts indicate that "there will be no significant precipitation next month".

Given this scenario, the Government decided to interdict (with the exception of production for the maintenance of the systems) the production of hydroelectricity in the Alto Lindoso, Touvedo, Cabril and Castelo de Bode and Alto Rabagão dams, the latter of which supplies water to locations in Montalegre, Boticas and Chaves.