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Portugal limits some reservoir use amid winter drought

February 1, 2022 GMT

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s government is restricting the use of some reservoirs for hydroelectric power and irrigation amid an unusual winter drought.

Portugal’s weather agency said that at the end of January all the country was enduring some degree of drought because of relatively low rainfall since November. It said 45% of the land was in “severe” or “extreme” drought.

Four dams producing electricity in central Portugal will be almost totally shut down and another one, in the southwest, will halt irrigation, the Environment Ministry announced Tuesday.

The measure is required to ensure the drinking water supply for at least two years, Environment Minister Joao Matos Fernandes told a news conference.

Portugal has about 60 reservoirs of varying sizes. Other reservoirs are full enough to make up the shortfall resulting from the restrictions, Matos Fernandes said.

With February forecast to produce little rain, the restrictions will remain in place until March 1 when they will be reassessed.

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