Duarte Cordeiro revealed the information during a visit to the Odeleite dam, in the municipality of Castro Marim, district of Faro, where the first water efficiency work in the region financed by the PRR will be completed, which will allow capturing over 15 cubic hectometres of the dead volume of water without affecting the quality.
“This is the first implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, dedicated to water efficiency in the Algarve, it is a work that is a month and a half away from being completed, it is 2.4 million euros, which allows adding 15 cubic hectometres, the which would correspond to 7% of water consumption in the Algarve or 20% of human consumption, roughly”, said the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action.
The government official highlighted that the PRR "is very ambitious, has several works" and many entities involved, but stressed that "it is ongoing" and "firm steps" are being taken to advance with them, being one of the "most famous and known” the desalination plant planned to increase the availability of water in the Algarve region, one of the most affected by the lack of rain and drought.
“A decision was made by Águas de Portugal and Águas do Algarve to increase capacity. The desalination plant we had was a desalination plant that could handle eight cubic hectometres, and potentially use up to 16, and now the decision has been taken to increase the size to be able to reach 24 cubic hectometres”, the minister told journalists.
Questioned by the Lusa agency about whether the increase in the desalination plant's capacity will imply an increase in costs, Duarte Cordeiro replied that yes, clarifying that it will go from a budget "from 40 million [euros] to around 50 million" and, if not possible to guarantee the difference through the PRR, other forms of financing will be assured.
“That is, if we are unable to finance through the PRR, we will find other sources of financing. This did not inhibit decision-making, the decision has been made, the desalination plant will be larger than expected”, he assured.
Duarte Cordeiro acknowledged that the Algarve is currently “one of the areas of the country that most worries” because of water, noting that the region is on “two levels”, with an area in the leeward (east) where there is “more or less capacity to about 60% of what is storage” and a windward (west) that causes concern for having benefited less from the last rains and having “dams with a lower level of supply”.
“It is a matter that we are following very carefully, very carefully, even today we are going to have a meeting with the Association of Municipalities and we are also going to have a meeting with the CCDR [Commission for Coordination and Regional Development], not only to hear everyone regarding what is the current situation, understand the level of recovery we have, take stock of the situation”, said the minister.