Cross-border agreement finally signals dredging work in Guadiana

It was meant to go ahead as many as 20 years ago but successive governments have managed to drag their feet. Now, at long last, Portuguese and Spanish authorities have signed a new agreement designed to push through vital dredging work in the Guadiana River.
The work – which is estimated to cost €1 million and will involve European funding – is designed to see the trans-frontier river made ready for navigation once again. It will bring huge benefits to tourism on both sides, say development bosses.
The plan is for the river to have a depth of at least 3.5 metres, as this will allow large craft to start using it.
Need for the dredging has long been a thorn in the side of local municipalities. Francisco Amaral, mayor of Alcoutim, said last year: “This dredging should have been done 20 years ago, and it was 20 years ago that I heard dredging was imminent! It is time the authorities stopped saying what they will do, and actually did something.”
This final step towards doing something was taken last week, with an agreement signed by Portugal’s Director-General for Natural Resources and Maritime Services, Miguel Sequeira, and the director of Andalusia’s ports authority, Miguel Paneque.
It remains to be seen when exactly the dredging work will begin, but the CCDR, the Algarve commission for regional development, which mediated the agreement, predicts it will be after the summer.