Programme  OS6d Water pricing: approaches and impacts  abstract 878

Irrigation Water Use and its Effective Efficiency in Portugal

Author(s): Naim Haie, Rui Pereira, Gaspar Machado
PEPEF Facility, University of Minho, Campus of Azurem, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal Emails: ;

Keyword(s): Effective Efficiency, Irrigation, Douro River Basin, Portugal

Article: abs878_article.pdf
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Session: OS6d Water pricing: approaches and impacts

2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected with high confidence that the

conditions (drought and high temperatures) in the Southern Europe will worsen. It stated that this region that includes

Portugal is already vulnerable and will experience a reduction in water availability, hydropower potential and crop

yield and productivity. The evidence of such conditions have already struck Portugal when during the 2004-2005

hydrological year experienced one of its worst droughts in decades. Between June to September 2005, the whole

country was classified as experiencing sever to extreme drought according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index

(PDSI). At the same time, Portugal was developing its new Water Law based on the requirements of the so called

Water Framework Directive of the European Union. Its Article 11 states that one of the basic and required

measures is to promote efficient and sustainable use of water. As a consequence of these two factors, the

Portuguese Government adopted a series of adaptation measures, one of them being a ten year National Program

for Efficient Use of Water.

This paper will present this program in its irrigation water use, analyse its effective

efficiency and discuss advantages and disadvantages of the portfolio of measures that are being considered. Until

recently, classical efficiency defined as the ratio of the beneficial output to input was mostly used to calculate

irrigation water efficiency. But in this study, the effective efficiency (EEF) indicator was used which is defined as the

ratio of beneficial output to the effective demand. Beneficial output is essentially net evapotranspiration.


preliminary results show an EEF of about 60% corresponding to an effective water demand of about 6.6 billion

cubic meter per year. This quantity of water is more than 85% of total water demand in Portugal. The cost of

supplying this amount of water is estimated to be about half a billion Euros per year resulting in about 200 millions of

Euros of losses. Some specific results of two river basins namely the international Douro River Basin and the Cavado

will be presented in this paper. The Program sets a goal of improving the EEF to 65% to be achieved in 10 years by

2015. Four areas of intervention were proposed to achieve this goal: information and education, training and

technical help, legislation and normalisation, and economical, financial and fiscal incentives.

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