Apart from the drought, the water held back by dams, weirs and the “scrupulous” compliance by the Spanish authorities regarding how much they release, are other concerns for the people who live between Gaviao (Portalegre) and Maçao (Santarém).

Manuela Martins has lived beside the fishermen’s huts near Belver dam in Ortiga, near Mação for 56 years and she told Lusa News Agency that the Tagus is so low because it hasn’t rained properly for three years.

A former fisherman, Camilo Vidal, agrees with her and said that this period of drought is difficult for the active fishermen as they “don’t catch any fish” for them to survive.

Arlindo Marques, known as the “Guardian of the River” because of his struggle to defend the river and who was awarded the National Environment Prize in 2018 by the Environmental Defence Associations, told Lusa that the situation “is not normal”.

“At a time like this, with winter having just ended, and the river looks this way, I don’t see anything good in the future and there are another six or seven months without rain until the October rains...”.

Standing on the dry river bed, the environmentalist also said that he recently managed to walk from one bank to the other and the water was “only up to his ankles”.

In order to maintain ecological water flow, Arlindo Consolado Marques hopes the Portuguese authorities release some of the water that is stored in the Parcana, Belver and Fratel reservoirs to avoid the river drying up even more in the coming months.