Dealing with water scarcity in Portugal
Nowadays climate changes are affecting people all over the world and as well the cycle of water. As Frestia we must adapt ourselves to these changes and take the right measures to be prepared to face the future.
Now in Portugal, in our region, we see the total amount of precipitation getting less year after year... About 10 years ago we could expect during the season around 450-600 mm of precipitation and now if we get between 350-400 mm that would be great. One of our main sources of water The Santa Clara Dam, is at the lowest level of the last 10 years. Availability of water per grower and per hectare is now reduced to around 2000 m3/hectare, about 3 years ago it was around 4000 m3/hectare. As the level is getting lower and lower also water quality is worse with higher EC, sodium level and some contaminants are present.
Our ways to prevent water wastage
To minimize the effects of water scarcity, we collect all the rainwater that pours down on the roof of our greenhouse, collected by the gutters and saved in our reservoirs. We can normally collect an amount of 80000m2 per year depending on the amount of rain during the whole year.
Considering the challenges we are facing with water availability we made a huge reservoir with a capacity around 120000 m3. The idea is to save all the water that we can and guarantee that we have enough water available during the season. Before that we already had a storage capacity around 27000m3. When all our reservoirs are full, we have enough water for our plants during a full season.
Besides that, we also use a high percentage of the drain water that we recirculate to irrigate our crops. We recently made an investment in an Ultra-filtration system and high-performance reverse osmose. This allows us to re-use 100% of the drain water and saves a lot of water and as well fertilizers. Water is essential to our plants without water nothing can grow.
Another important aspect is that we use a considerable amount of humidity sensors in our crops. To determine the exact moment and amount of water needed by the plants, to give only what is necessary and avoid water wastage.
With all the measures we take we are self-sufficient and don´t need to pray to the skies for rain to come.