Drought prevents opening of new Odeleite Dam bathing area

“The dam’s water quota is currently insufficient to install the project’s floating pools”, says the vice-president of the municipality.

The opening of a new bathing area at the Odeleite Dam in Castro Marim has been postponed due to the drought in the Algarve. According to Filomena Sintra, the municipality’s vice president, the dam’s water quota is currently insufficient to install the project’s floating pools.

The actual water level of the Odeleite dam, the largest in the eastern Algarve, is at 42.09% of its usable volume, which is insufficient to allow the safe opening of the new nautical centre, created by the municipality to develop the county’s interior, explained Sintra.

The new area, located on a slope west of Odeleite, is “the Algarve’s newest beach”, claims the official. However, the current conditions make it impossible “to install its floating pools” because the access staircase ends a few metres above the existing water line.

“At a time when we are supposed to be putting in the final touches and installing infrastructures for the bathrooms, bar, support services, and putting in the floating pools, we are faced with the reality that the level of the dam does not allow us to do so safely”, lamented the vice president.

Sintra explained that although the project “contemplated a height oscillation at a level of 15 meters” when mooring the floating pools, at the moment, “people would have to go down a large staircase to reach the pools” and “that is not the objective”, because the access must “be at beach level”.

According to Filomena Sintra, the project managers considered the dam’s monthly average since it started operating and designed the staircase – the mooring point for the floating pools – to be adjusted according to the dam’s water level trends.

However, in the last four years, drought and lack of rain have worsened, conditioning the opening of the nautical centre.

Nonetheless, Sintra is convinced that water management work being developed in the Algarve will increase reserves and ensure that the dam reaches ideal levels for the centre to be used by bathers. She believes that, with new water storage, abstraction, and rationalisation solutions, this problem won’t aggravate. Otherwise, she admits, we would have to rethink the Algarve.

The official hopes that conditions will soon change in order for the project, budgeted at around €900,000, to open to the public and “attract people to the interior” of the municipality and help develop the area.