Work on the Odelouca dam project in Silves, abandoned since contractors downed tools last November, will go forward, according to Amílcar Theias, Minister for Urban Affairs, Planning and the Environment. The minister said the government is simply waiting for an agreement between the heads of the regional câmaras and the Águas de Portugal water company.
Work on the dam stopped when the National Water Institute (INAG) failed to pay contractors around 4.4 million euros in back payments. Theias claims that, “these questions are being considered by INAG, the owner of the work” and acknowledged “there was a bill in arrears and, if there are debts to pay, they must be honoured and they will be honoured”.
Although he appears optimistic, Theias declined to comment on exactly how the multi-million euro debt would be paid, or on whether the integration of the dam into Águas do Algarve would result in an increase in water prices for consumers. “Public services have to be paid for by the general public, but water in Portugal is very cheap at the moment,” he said.