By Elsa Severino – Landscape Architect
Something’s Got to Rain
Book Title by Karl Ove Knausgard
This has been ours in the face of the hydrological cycle, a great passivity, inertia, sometimes lack of scientific knowledge, and wrong bets on forest plants and irrigation farms, without taking into account our aquifer resources, admitting that Nature will compensate our mistakes. How many times do we hear – “something has to rain”!…
Scientists tell us that «the way water is distributed in space and time, must condition the policy of its use and all activities in the country». This is related to a correct inventory of our aquifer resources and as a water district in each, or by hydrographic basin.
For that, we have to know our reality – our climate is a consequence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic influence; in the first case it is responsible for high temperatures and in the latter of the country rainfall; in turn, the Atlantic influence is felt especially in winter and in the regions of northwest Portugal, causing high rainfall. We must also take into account three major natural geographic areas in the country: North Atlantic area; north of Trás-os-Montes and south of the Mediterranean. Other characteristics with enormous influence on the occurrence of waters are ‘geology, orography and hydrography’, from which we highlight the regions that present greater permeability: the coastlines also from Lisbon to Aveiro, as well as the Tagus and Sado basins, and some permeable formations in the districts of Évora and Beja. This data crossing region is fundamental, in the sense of preserving at all costs as areas of maximum infiltration for aquifer recharge, but also defining a sustainable way, as various economic activities in each. These characteristics, which we have as our actions or important territories on the water resources related to rivers. The main Portuguese-Spanish hydrographic basins correspond to the Minho, Lima, Douro, Tagus and Guadiana rivers, and only 22% of the total area is in the national territory. This fact affects our water conditions due, in part, to the impossibility of monitoring the hydrographic basins available in the territory, but also because we completely neglect all the hydrographic basins in the national territory. Just a rigorous characterization of the Portuguese and Portuguese-Spanish river basins through the availability of fresh water in mainland Portugal, so necessary to the growing needs of agriculture, industry, domestic consumption, tourism and many other activities. A constructive relationship with Spain is crucial to our availability and quality of fresh water.
«Si vous voulez de l’eau faites des bois»!
Without a forest climate, there is no water available, there are no wells and springs, and there is no necessary storage of water in the reservoirs.
The watersheds of our rivers, our slopes, are gradually becoming deforested, due to a constant and abusive destruction of climatic species, but also due to forest fires. When replanting takes place, it is only based on exotic species, such as eucalyptus, which have harmful effects on the water-soil binomial and on biodiversity. Already a reality of our soils associated with these and other activities, is a tragic reality in the country.
By way of conclusion, and knowing that the topic does not end here, we will say that:
– it is urgent to draw up a national plan for our resources;
– is urgently defined as water needs, depending on availability, and through random policies, needs of corporate interests;
– it is urgent to increase water infiltration, soil conservation, protection of aquifer recharge zones, to increase the connection. Water is the ‘blood’ of regions with irregular rainfall and high temperatures, which are evident in the southern Mediterranean region;
– there is an urgent need to invest in the climate forest and the indigenous, climatic flora, with a view to increasing biodiversity, imperative conservation, of soil and water.
No climate forest, no water!
It is an implementation of an environmental policy and urgent, independent and independent of the country, to the mitigation of climate change, and the maintenance of life on Earth.