Regulator warns about losses of millions of liters of water in the public network


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In 2021, the average losses in the supply networks stood at 28.8%, corresponding to 237 billion liters of water per year

The water supply network in Portugal has annual losses of hundreds of millions of liters of water, warns this Thursday the Regulatory Authority of Water and Waste Services (ERSAR), which calls for a focus on reducing these values.

In ERSAR’s annual report on the characterization of the water and waste sector, it is emphasized that, in light of climate change, progress in other sectors “must be accompanied by a focus on reducing actual water losses, which still remain too high.

In 2021, the country’s average in terms of losses in the supply networks stood at 28.8%, corresponding to 237 billion liters of water per year, a figure that has remained relatively constant for more than a decade, Indaqua, one of the largest operators in the universe of municipal concessions, says in a statement regarding the ERSAR data.

And he adds, citing the report, that 45 Portuguese municipalities have losses above 50% and 19 do not even measure.

Indaqua points out that it is in Santo Tirso and Trofa, where the company holds a joint concession, that the lowest value of unbilled water is recorded nationally: 9.7%.

The report released on the ERSAR website states that “the value of the average of the indicator of real losses for the high service and for the low service with a density of branches equal to or greater than 20 kilometers of network, showed a favorable evolution between 2017 and 2019, but this trend reversed in 2020, resulting in this inefficiency in the loss of about 197 million cubic meters of water in the network, per year.”

In the report, ERSAR defends “new forms of management” of increasingly scarce water, “such as the production of treated wastewater for reuse, which in 2021 represented only 1.2% of treated wastewater.

And it also warns that “unsatisfactory” sewage flooding should be rehabilitated, and says that physical access to selective waste collection can be improved, also warning that washing of selective collection containers has decreased in 2021 compared to 2020.

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