Portugal considers water rationing as drought intensifies

Markets Associated Press

Officials in Portugal say they may begin rationing the public water supply at night-time in response to the country's worst drought on record.

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Authorities say 94 percent of the Portuguese mainland is enduring what they classify as an "extreme" drought.

Environment secretary Carlos Martins says rationing could backfire because consumers might fill their bathtubs before nightfall, but the measure could help by reducing water lost through broken pipes.

Martins said in an interview published in daily newspaper i on Tuesday that reducing water pressure in the distribution system is another option.

The drought is causing problems for farming and hydroelectric power production. It has also facilitated the spread of wildfires which killed more than 100 people in the summer.

The weather remains warm and dry, despite summer's end.