Algarve municipalities tackling drought issues

By Kim Schiffmann, in Algarve · 17-01-2020 01:00:00 · 3 Comments
Algarve municipalities tackling drought issues

A new dam and a desalinisation plant in the Algarve have been put forward as possible solutions for the water requirements of the region in the future.

The municipalities of the Algarve will request the convening of a General Assembly of Águas do Algarve to initiate the “necessary procedures” to carry out the “environmental impact study for the construction of the Foupana dam” in the eastern Algarve.
The decision of the municipalities was announced in a statement from the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL), following a meeting where “future investments and steps to reinforce the distribution and correct use of water in the south of the country” were discussed, under the AMAL Intermunicipal Council.
The construction of a dam on the Foupana, a tributary stream on the Guadiana river and which runs through northeast Algarve through the Loulé and Alcoutim municipalities, would allow a new dam to be added to the water reserve system that currently serves the leeward (east) and which currently has two dams, Beliche and Odeleite.
“At this meeting it was decided to hold a meeting of the General Assembly of Águas do Algarve to, among other topics, advance the necessary procedures for the environmental impact study for the construction of the Foupana dam,” said AMAL.

The same source announced that it was also decided to proceed “with the completion of the tech-nical, economic and finan-cial feasibility study for the construction of a desalin-ation plant”, but without specifying the location.
“These steps come after the investments that municipalities have made in this area and now want to reinforce, through a broader plan that promotes the reuse of wastewater from the various WWTP [Wastewater Treatment Plants], the reduction of losses on the network and the development of consumer awareness campaigns”, stressed AMAL.
The meeting of the AMAL Intermunicipal Council also allowed, according to the same source, to appoint Osvaldo Gonçalves, mayor of Alcoutim, as representative of the Algarve municipalities in the “recently created working group on water issues” which includes “responsible Agriculture, Tourism, Municipalities and the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA).
The Algarve Municipalities Association recalled the “pioneering” role it played in the preparation of the “AMAL Intermunicipal Climate Change Adaptation Plan (PIAAC-AMAL)” and in identifying the “key climate vulnerabilities and strategies for the region” to tackle the scarcity of water resulting from drought and climate change, which is felt throughout the region, but most notably in the east.
On 23 December, the president of AMAL called on the 16 municipalities of the Algarve to adopt “short-term measures to mitigate climate change” following a meeting that had brought together mayors, APA Vice President Pimenta Machado, and Joaquim Peres, representing Águas do Algarve, managing entity of the region’s multi-municipal water system.
António Miguel Pina, who accumulates the AMAL and Câmara de Olhão presidencies, described as “worrying” the drought situation affecting the Algarve and considered at the time that the municipalities should “be proactive” and be involved in the fight against water loss, changing consumption habits or reuse of wastewater for urban and irrigation uses.
“Whether it rains a lot or not, this issue cannot be abandoned. It is up to us, mayors, to do what we can to put in place solutions that can, in the short term, minimise the effects of drought”, considered the mayor of Olhão.


One of the largest users of water is the large scale orange tree farms that are appearing across the Algarve. The Algarve does not receive enough rainfall to grow them. The EU provide s grants for growers to grow them but picking them is too expensive so many fall to the ground and left to rot. Some of these farms have appeared on previously protected land. So I wonder why grants are given to destroy the protected natural habitat. The cynic in me says that there is some back handers with some authorities are occurring.

by David Clark from Algarve on 19-01-2020 03:25:00

AMAL’s president, António Pina, should concentrate Algarve Councils’ efforts on fixing the leaking delivery system with some municipal supplies losing 1 in 5 liters - his included as Olhão’s water company, rather conveniently run by his brother-in-law, is high on the list after years of close to zero investment.

by Paul Rees from Beiras on 19-01-2020 08:18:00

One of the key-points in reducing water consumption: with top priority, a rigorous audit of the water consumption, and more, in general and per person, of all 4 and 5 star hotels and golf resorts in the Algarve, those becoming unacceptable in view of the growing climate change tragedy, the world is now living.

by De Graeve Boudewijn from Algarve on 17-01-2020 01:09:00
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