Porto Ambiente’s truck that on Saturday morning, washed the Avenida Gustavo Eiffel is not wasting a square centimetre of water. On the contrary, it is recycling residual waters. And that is also the case for watering gardens, cleaning rubbish bins and recharging aquifers with the intent to, one day, be used by firefighters or in other cases: public or private. The first project of the north region to resort to reused water to wash public areas – Água para Reutilização (ApR) – comes from the Municipality of Porto and is going to generate one thousand square metres of class A water, allowing to save drinking water, stocking it for consumption.
Considering the scarcity of this unique good, reusing water in a circular economy perspective, must be seen as obligatory”, the vice-mayor of Porto City Hall considers.
During a visit to ETAR in Freixo, where the first unit of Reusable Water is installed, which counted with the presence of the mayor of the autarchy, Rui Moreira, of the minister of the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Pires, and the vice-mayor of the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA), José Pimenta Machado, Filipe Araújo said that “Porto wants to be, once again, on the frontline”.
“We clearly have massive potential in this area and an opportunity to better manage our water resources”, he states, recalling the low levels of reused residual water in our country.
Developed by Águas e Energia do Porto, with the support of Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, this solution, resulting from a municipal investment of around 750 thousand euros, “follows a rigorous programme of monitorisation, to verify the normative execution of the required quality, ensuring total safety” while using the produced water, the vice-mayor assures.
“Climate change will continue to put an enormous amount of pressure in water management, intensifying dry seasons, but also heavy precipitation”, Filipe Araújo highlights, reinforcing that “to ensure access to this essential good, we have to be able of manage it better, reducing, on one hand, water waste and finding, on the other, alternative origins, such is the case of the water in ETAR”.
Given this first step, the vice-mayor, also the councillor for the Environment and Climate Transition, confirms that the goal of the Municipality is to commercialise this produced water, at a lower cost, for private use.
Municipality of Porto sets an example and anticipates the future
For the minister of Environment and Climate Action this “is a hallmark day” where “Porto City Hall once gets ahead”, showing “an ability to see the future”, has it had already done when launching Porto Climate Pact.
Duarte Cordeiro highlighted Porto’s ability to “save, know how to be efficient in using resources, getting the most out of technology to decrease waste”. “Our ability to adapt to harness the resources we have is essential”, he emphasises, considering hat the solution proposed by the Municipality “is, without a doubt, the way”.
In the opinion of the minister, “the citizens are increasingly more capable to distinguish the institutions that are able to have a posture of integral sustainability”. “Thoroughly satisfied with the example that Porto sets, showing us that it is possible”, Duarte Cordeiro says that “to have institutions such as Porto City Hall investing on recycled water also allows us to understand that we have to do better”.
The vice-president of APA considers Águas e Energia do Porto “an excellent example” when it comes to resource management, referring to the index of Non-Billed Water of 13,4% reached in 2022.
Congratulating Porto for its leadership in various projects, José Pimenta Machado recognises the city’s takeover in the mission for “depollute, desilt and rehabilitate”, namely in the work developed on streams, adapting them to “the climate’s challenges”.