The Albufeira pact, signed by the two countries on November 30, 1998 for the administration and use of water in the five river basins they share, including the Douro, regulates the protection and sustainable use of their waters.

The president of the Association of Irrigation Communities of the Douro Basin (Ferduero), Ángel González Quintanilla, denounced that the first affected by the extraordinary releases in Santa Teresa, Águeda and Irueña were the farmers of Salamanca.

“Now it is the turn of the communities of León to suffer the consequences of the release of water that has been taking place since September 9 in the Riaño and Porma reservoirs, in the Esla-Valderaduey system”, added González Quintanilla.

Mandatory release

After a meeting with farmers last week, the deputy government delegate in León, Faustino Sánchez, stressed that the release of water to Portugal "is mandatory" under the agreement signed between the two countries.

As a result of this agreement, the two largest reservoirs in the Douro River Basin - Almendra, on the Tormes river between Salamanca and Zamora, and Ricobayo, on the Esla river, in Zamora, both destined mainly for hydroelectric production - will have to cede to Portugal more than half of the water they currently have in the reservoirs.

The agreement provides for the shipment to Portugal of around 870 cubic hectometers of water stored in Spanish reservoirs in the Douro basin, of which around 650 come from these two large reservoirs.

Thus, in the next two weeks, before the end of the current hydrological year on 30 September, Spain must have complied with that agreement and, for that, it will have to cede to the Portuguese Douro basin the minimum amount of dammed water stipulated in the agreement signed in November 1998.