The largest Portuguese association of citrus fruit operators, AlgarOrange, wants the government to lead a national debate on the strategy for dealing with the country’s water shortage, particularly acute in the Algarve. AlgarOrange unites around 40% of the region’s operators and believes more needs to be done to assuage members’ concerns.

The association‘s president, José OIiveira, stated: “What we cannot do is leave operators in the uncertainty of tomorrow.” He referred to plantations with “30, 40 even 50 hectares that are already having” problems with securing enough water.

AlgarOrange has welcomed news of the desalination plant forecast for Albufeira, and the “pumping of water from the Pomarão dam in the district of Mertola to the reservoirs in the eastern Algarve”, he said.

In August, Portugal had 48 per cent of its territory in severe to extreme drought, compared to 100 per cent last year at this time of year, minister for the environment and climate action, Duarte Cordeiro, announced at the end of the month.