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Water rationing 'theoretical' possibility only, says Portugal’s minister

Staff Writer | November 22, 2017
Portugal’s environment minister, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, described water rationing as no more than “a theoretical hypothesis” in the current drought, arguing that it makes no sense to think about such measures at this point, because they should be only a last resort.
João Pedro Matos Fernandes
Europe   Water and sanitation management entities
The minister was responding to questions from journalists prompted by comments from his own secretary of state, Carlos Martins, in an interview with the newspaper ‘i’ published, in which he suggested that the government could introduce water rationing at night.

Fernandes, during a visit to Évora for a national meeting of water and sanitation management entities, effectively dismissed that idea.

“Rationing measures are at the end of the end of the line and it makes no sense to think of them now,” he said. “We’re doing all [we can] so that there are no water shortages, together with local authorities, and it is fundamental that people save water.”

The secretary of state had, in the minister’s summary, “considered the vague possibility” of rationing “for some hours” a day in “some municipalities where the water is really almost, almost running out” and “in very specific situations”.

Suspending water supplies during the night is “a theoretical hypothesis” only, the minister said. “That’s not our road.”

He stressed that, even if the measure went ahead in a given municipality, “it is not the government that rations” but the local authority, based on its own decision.