Adaptation measures to climate change for water scarcity in Portugal

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Fernanda Gomes (Portugal) 1

1 - Portuguese Environment Agency

Portugal has relevant policy instruments to promote adaptation to climate change, the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change, which has as its perspective the need to promote the incorporation of adaptation to climate change in the planning and management of water resources in Portugal.

The irregularity in the distribution of water resources in Portugal, in terms of space and time, has direct and indirect implications in water planning and management and is the basis of situations of water scarcity, as well as extreme events such as droughts and floods. Sustainable water use, in particular in its quantitative aspects, is a real challenge for water resources management, taking into account current and future uses and their combination with climate change scenarios. In order to adapt to these scenarios, measures should be taken in the area of water use efficiency, ensuring optimum supply management and encouraging demand efficiency.

Adequate knowledge of the water availability in the whole territory is essential for an adequate water resources management, since the quantification of these availabilities and knowledge of the water needs of each sector is essential in planning processes.

The management of water resources, is developed based on the balance between water availability and water needs, and the appropriate balance between the two is the assumption for the sustainability of the resource. In the context of this management it is also important to take into account water quality issues, as water quality can also be a factor in water availability.

The compatibility of sectoral needs with existing water resources is a double challenge in water management. This double challenge is to ensure efficiency in supply and to stimulate demand efficiency. This will require adaptation measures on the supply side and on the demand side, each with its specific features.

Water management on the demand side involves increasing water efficiency and reducing losses and consumption, both in the use and in the management of water by the entities, with the objective of reducing water resources, often in contexts of scarcity. Supply-side water management involves ensuring sustainable water use, particularly in areas of scarcity, and water quality consistent with uses. The regional vocation of water, which translates into the desire of a region to ensure a particular use, can be used to give more or less incentive of some uses in some areas.