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  • Writer's picture@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood

Portugal: Save Water, Ease Drought

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

“We don’t control what the weather does, but we can control what we do with time. One minute a day, let’s turn the tap dry.”


An official ad campaign, “Let’s turn off the tap,” urges reduced and efficient use of water at a time when most of the country is in severe and extreme drought.

“Closing the faucet for one minute saves 12 liters of water,” read the advertisement in Expresso (July 22) newspaper.

“If we all do this, we save 120 million liters in a minute. Enough to guarantee the basic daily needs of 1 million Portuguese.”

“According to the United Nations, a person needs 110 liters of water per day.”

(Portugal has a population of 10.3 million, according to the 2021 Census.)

“We don’t control what weather (tempo) does, but we can control what we do with time (tempo).

“One minute a day, let’s turn the tap dry.”

The water conservation message is planned to appear on billboards, in the press, digitally and on social networks.

“In a period when the country is facing a drought situation, this arises with the aim of alerting the public of the scarcity of water and raising awareness of good practices, encouraging the conserving of this natural resource,” reported Green Savers (July 25).

According to TSF Radio Noticias (June 21):

“The president of the Instituto Portugues do Mar e da Atmosfera (Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere, IPMA), Miguel Miranda, said that it has been 17 years since the drought situation on mainland Portugal has been so serious.”

Some tips for water conservation by the Portuguese Environment Agency (Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente, APA) are:

1. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving. In this way, you can reduce using 10 to 30 liters per day;

2. Turn off the shower faucet while soaping. For every two minutes in the shower with the tap on, about 24 liters of water are used;

3. Do not throw waste into the toilet that should go in the trash bin. In addition to clogging the sewers, each toilet flush uses 10 to 15 liters of water. Flush only when necessary;

4. Use the shower water, while it is warming up, for other uses, such as flushing the toilet, washing the floor, watering plants, etc.;

5. Make sure that the faucets are closed tightly. A single dripping faucet can waste 30 liters of water a day;

6. When replacing washing machines, choose appliances that consume less water. When in operation, always use eco programs with machines fully loaded;

7. Do not wash dishes or clothes by hand with running water. Use a basin or bowl;

8. Use the water from washing fruit and vegetables to water the plants;

9. Water the plants when it is cooler to avoid more evaporation;

10. Don’t overwater and choose species that need less water;

11. Avoid washing the car. If you decide to do so, do not use a hose, which can consume up to 400 liters of water;

12. Control water costs through monthly meter readings or water bills. In this way, you also can identify abnormal consumption that may be caused by water leaks.

The water awareness campaign was launched by the Grupo Aguas de Portugal and the Portuguese Environment Agency (Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente, APA), in partnership with the Water and Waste Services Regulatory Authority (Entitade Reguladora dos Serviços de Aguas e Residuos), and with funding from the Environmental Fund of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Action, according to the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA).

The campaign is part of the measures provided in the Prevention, Monitoring and Contingency Plan for Drought Situations approved by the Permanent Commission for the Prevention and Monitoring of the Effects of Drought, according to the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA).

The same ad was used in November 2017, as reported in Jornal de Mafra (November 12, 2017).

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