The guarantee was given by the Secretary of State for Nature Conservation, Forests and Territorial Planning, João Catarino.
Asked about reports today about the worsening of the drought situation in Portugal, the minister admitted to concerns but ensured that the country will not have a lack of water for human consumption in the next two years, even without rain.
“[Drought] is a situation that we all have to worry about. Obviously, the Government has to be concerned, but concerned we guarantee that there will be no shortage of water for human consumption”, João Catarino told journalists.
The Secretary of State warned that if the situation worsens further, there must be a “more efficient” use in all its dimensions.
“At home, in watering public spaces, in agriculture. We have to be aware that if there is less water, we have to use much less. The Government is responsible for guaranteeing the human consumption of water and this is guaranteed for two years, for this year and for the [next] year, even if it does not rain this year and next, which we hope will not happen”.
The Secretary of State for Nature Conservation, Forests and Territorial Planning admits, however, the rationing of water in certain areas of the country, for certain purposes.
“[Water rationing] yes, this may have to exist for some uses, obviously, but for human consumption, we will always be attentive. But the Government is in a position to guarantee that there will be no shortage of water for human consumption during the summer, without a doubt”, stated João Catarino.
The Secretary of State also warned of the heat wave forecast for the coming days by the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA), which, combined with the drought situation, will create conditions of extreme risk of fire.
“I would warn you to be very careful with the use of some instruments, namely in agricultural or forestry terms, which could cause fires in the coming days, because conditions will worsen substantially”, underlined the minister.
For João Catarino, drought and forest fires “are two permanent concerns of the Government”.