Water is Life, but it can come to an end poster
| |

Drought, World Water Day and Saharan dust

On World Water Day, 22 March, the Municipality of Tavira sent out details of a new awareness and information campaign entitled “Water is Life, but it can End.

I was puzzled at first because this theme is taken from the Lakota phrase “Mní wičhóni” “Water is Life” which was the protest anthem from Standing Rock. It also has a spiritual meaning rooted in Indigenous world views. “For Native Americans, water does not only sustain life, it is sacred.”

The campaign is launched as the Algarve is being hit by Saharan sand, which will continue until next Monday. Everywhere is covered in brown mucky dust. So don’t wash your car or your garden furniture until next week if you have to, as more dust is on the way over the weekend.
Seriously though, the Camara is asking people to be rational in the use of water, noting:

The Municipality of Tavira and the municipal company Tavira Verde are strongly committed to reducing their water consumption and have implemented a series of reduction measures since 2022, reinforced in 2023 and this year, including:

Abandoning irrigation in various green spaces;

Switching off various fountains, ponds and ornamental water mirrors (only those with recirculation of non-potable water are active).

Installation of timers, flow reducers and water-saving information in municipal buildings;

Implementation of the LoRa network and the intelligent management and monitoring system for the irrigation network of public green spaces;

Conversion of public green spaces with landscaping adapted to reducing water consumption and abandonment of grassy green spaces;

Reusing water from Tavira’s municipal swimming pools to wash streets and clean pits;

Making use of new water sources (e.g. wastewater treatment plants, reservoirs, wells);

Upgrading the public water supply network for human consumption;

Optimisation of water resources in projects approved by the municipality, avoiding the use of lawns in green spaces to the detriment of meadows or dryland species and the use of fountains, lakes and ornamental water features.

Suspension of second meters (aka irrigation meters).

By coincidence, Lyn Jarvis a fellow resident of Tavira, asked me yesterday about the water station that gushes water into the river on the road to the bus station. I have passed it many times and wondered what purpose it serves. Lyn indicated that over a couple of years she had emailed various responsible departments to ask if the water could be recycled. She has yet to receive a detailed reply to her questions. She has received acknowledgement emails. In the past, women washed clothes, and families collected water from the wells around the station. But now, that does not seem to happen.

Today, I also sent some questions to the press office about the water station. Hopefully, next week, I can update this post on who is responsible for the water station, why the water gushes into the river, and whether it can be shut off or recycled.

Water station outlet
Water station outlet
Water running into the river from the water station
Water station - water flowing into the river
Water station – water flowing into the river

The Camara also notes in today’s press release that “domestic consumption is the biggest contributor to the volume of water consumed” and the “Water is Life, but it can End” campaign was launched with the aim of reaching out to everyone and calling on them to implement sustainable practices with the common goal of saving water.

Water from the water station
Water from the water station

“On 20 February, the Council of Ministers published Resolution 26-A of 2024, which “recognises the drought alert situation in the Algarve and approved a framework of response measures”.

Among the measures listed is that Águas do Algarve S.A. will limit the supply of drinking water to the municipalities to 85 per cent of the volume supplied in 2023, and that the municipalities will have to adopt measures to cope with this cut in the supply of water for human consumption.”

The campaign will include publicity materials, tips, and trivia designed to empower consumers to use water more consciously. 

Billboards, leaflets, social media posts, videos and other media will be used to help ensure that, at all times and in all scenarios, everyone is aware of the obligation to use water carefully.

By the way, Tavira Verde installed a free water fountain in the garden in the centre of Tavira. Thanks! It was installed a couple of years ago, I think, but it is currently inaccessible because of the work undertaken on the gardens.

More water fountains are needed around the town so visitors and locals can fill up containers downtown and so avoid buying plastic bottles. REconomia and Tavira Transition Town campaigned for this initiative in 2015-2019. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *