Bravura Dam in the western Algarve
Bravura Dam in the western Algarve Photo: LUÍS FORRA/LUSA

Algarve dams may only have 16% of water by end of summer

Algarve University professor suggests “building not one, but two or three desalination plants”.

Geosciences and hydrology professor Nuno Loureiro, who has been following the drought situation in the region for years, told TSF that “according to his calculations, by the end of September, the integrated dam system in the region will be, at the very least, around 16%, a frightening value”.

Considering that the scenario could worsen in the future, he has no doubts that building a single desalination plant in the region, as planned, is not enough. “We need two or three,” he guarantees. “If we transform the Algarve desalination plant into a story like Lisbon airport, for which another report, another study, another opinion is always needed, when we die of thirst, we will realise that we needed desalination plants”, he told TSF.

The same source mentions that the desalination plant planned for the region, whose environmental impact study has not yet been delivered, will only have a capacity of 24 million cubic metres, when existing dams in the Algarve have a capacity of 400 million cubic metres.

Regarding the potential project to fetch water from the Guadiana River in the Pomarão area, the professor says it is an “unrealistic” idea because “there is no water”. As for the possibility of fetching water from the Alqueva, he doesn’t think it is viable because “the Alentejo also needs water for the population and its crops”.

According to the researcher, it is necessary to consider how the soil is occupied and not allow more irrigated agriculture. He also suggests going back to how our grandparents dealt with such situations “by storing winter rain in deposits, to be used in the spring. Today we really need it”, he concluded.