Water is an essential resource for human life, for the balance of ecosystems, for food production, for energy generation and for the economy as a whole. Environmental and economic pressures placed on this limited natural resource, as well as its intrinsic relationship with other priorities, such as energy production, adaptation to climate change and food crops, contribute to making the management of water and its services a priority topic in the international agenda.

Therefore, all legislation developed for this sector, whether European or domestic, aims at protecting inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater, in order to:

  • prevent degradation, protect and improve the state of ecosystems;
  • promote sustainable water consumption;
  • strengthen and improve the aquatic environment by reducing or eliminating discharges, emissions and losses of priority substances;
  • avoid the further pollution of groundwater and ensure its gradual reduction;
  • contribute to mitigating the effects of floods and droughts;
  • ensure a sufficient quantity of good-quality surface and groundwater, aiming at a sustainable, balanced and equitable use of water;
  • protect marine waters and promote the prevention and elimination of marine pollution.

In order to ensure the proper implementation of the legislation enacted to achieve these goals, it is essential to monitor the state of water bodies, their availability, the use of water resources and other pressures that are exerted on water, the occurrence of floods and periods of drought and the quality of water intended for human consumption.

Fact sheets

  • State of Surface and Groundwater Bodies
    The "State of Surface and Groundwater Bodies" fact sheet analyses the ecological and chemical status of surface water and the quantitative and chemical status of groundwater.
  • Surface and Groundwater Availability
    The "Surface and Groundwater Availability" fact sheet analyses water availability in mainland Portugal in a given year, making it possible to assess whether the year was wet, average or dry.
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Pressures on Water Resources
    The fact sheet 'Quantitative and Qualitative Pressures on Water Resources' analyses the pressures placed on water resources in terms of water abstraction and pollution in bodies of water.
  • Use of water resources
    The "Use of water resources" fact sheet measures the evolution of the pressure on water resources in terms of the use of water resources that is requested and authorized by the Permits for the Use of Water Resources (TURH) issued by the Portuguese Environment Agency. The analysis is based on the submitted applications and the permits issued by river basin district and by type of use.
  • Urban Wastewater
    The fact sheet "Urban Wastewater" estimates the organic load rejected into water resources by the urban sector, taking into account the type of treatment to which the respective wastewater is subjected, with particular focus on agglomerations and wastewater treatment plants evaluated by the Urban Wastewater Directive, particularly as regards compliance with its requirements.
  • Bathing Waters

    The fact sheet “Bathing Waters” assesses the quality of bathing waters and tallies the number of beaches and marinas in Portugal that were awarded the “Blue Flag”. 

  • Agricultural Nitrates in Surface and Ground Waters
    The fact sheet "Agricultural Nitrates in Surface and Ground Waters" measures the quality of surface water and groundwater with regard to nitrates from agricultural sources.
  • Water for human consumption
    The fact sheet "Water for human consumption" assesses the quality of water at the consumer's tap and identifies its origin.