Water plans and programs are aimed at the sustainable use of this resource. Planning is essential to make the use of water resources compatible with their availability and to protect them in the long term. In Portugal, the management of hydric resources – surface and underground waters – has the following principles
- access to water for all
- protection of water as an environmental good
- its efficient use, as a scarce resource.
The use of public and private water resources that may have a significant impact on the status of water and on the rational and balanced management of resources requires a title that allows such use, issued under the terms and conditions set out in the Water Act and the Water Resources Use Regulations. The Water Act establishes that by virtue of obtaining the use title and exercising it, a Water Resources Charge (TRH) is due for the negative impact of the authorized activity on water resources.
Water legislation exists to protect available water resources in the long term by controlling their use. The Water Law is established in Law 58/2005 of December 29, 2005, as amended. The Water Resources Utilization Regime, which complements the Water Law (cfr. number 2 of article 102 of the Water Law) is regulated by Decree Law n.º 226-A/2007, of May 31, in its current wording. Ordinance no. 1450/2007, of November 12, sets the rules of the regime for the use of water resources.
The legal framework, therefore, provides for the licensing of the use of water resources and requires compliance with quality standards in the discharges into the water environment, seeking to ensure the gradual reduction of pollution and achieve the good status of surface waters.
Besides being supplied by water from the public network, UTAD also has 4 boreholes duly licensed for the irrigation of green spaces. UTAD, as an institution of higher education, seeks to set an example in terms of environmental practices. Being part of a botanical garden, this responsibility is increased.
UTAD seeks to follow the best practices at national and international level and for this it foresees the replacement of water sources by alternative water sources, such as
- installation of rainwater harvesting systems for irrigation in new works or space requalifications;
- use of treated wastewater for irrigation: the new wastewater treatment plant, derived from the project for environmental and hydric valorization of agricultural effluents of UTAD, will allow obtaining ApR that will be used for irrigation and simultaneously represent an added value for soil fertility (ENEAPAI, 2030); also this ETAP may also have a system for using rainwater from the roofs of the farm.
In addition, UTAD is part of the AQUA+ Commitment Network, which will allow for the evaluation of the water efficiency of the Campus, with a view to its certification and improvement. With this commitment, UTAD will be pioneer as a case study in higher education institutions in Portugal.
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