One of the tankers which will be ensuring villages don't run dry. Nuno Veiga/ Lusa

Water trucked to 50 locations in Trás-os-Montes

€1.3 million in protocols signed to “ensure water continues to reach people’s homes”

At least 8,000 people in 50 locations in Trás-os-Montes in Portugal’s far north east are being supplied this summer with the help of water tankers due to the lack of water in the supply systems, it was revealed today.

Most of the places are villages that usually have water shortages in the summer season, albeit this year’s situation, due to the worst drought in decades, is a great deal more acute.

Secretary of state for nature conservation and forests, João Paulo Catarino, has been signing protocols today, providing €1.3 million for seven Trás-os-Montes local authorities to ensure water continues to reach people’s homes.

Most of the money – more than €1 million – is destined to transport water in tankers. Said Mr Catarino, aid to Trás-os-Montes represents about a quarter of the €4 million made available by the Environmental Fund to mitigate the problems of drought throughout the country.

Beneficiaries in Trás-os-Montes are the municipalities of Carrazeda de Ansiães, Bragança, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Alfândega da Fé, Mogadouro and Vimioso (Bragança district) and Alijó (Vila Real district).

Said Catarino, financial aid will also go on rehabilitating existing systems, making new catchment areas (small dams),  and purchasing tankers, or services, for water transportation.

Carrazeda de Ansiães municipality – the one hosting the protocol signing session – is the one that presents the “greatest difficulties” and will receive support for less than half of the €400,000 it needs to pay service providers to transport water from the Tua River to its Water Treatment Plant (WTP).

The municipality has a tender running until August 16 to contract the service for around 90 days (three months) to solve a problem that affects practically all the municipality’s 5,500 inhabitants.

The nearby Fotelonga dam is the only reserve for supplying this and a number of other villages – and is at less than 30% of capacity, with water that will only last till October. Thus the emergency solution to transport water from the Tua River.

Alijó, Mogadouro and Macedo de Cavaleiros have help for the acquisition of tankers to guarantee the supply to about eight villages in the case of Macedo de Cavaleiros; to “a dozen in Mogadouro, and five in Alijó.

Alfândega da Fé is having a year with problems, says Lusa, as its main water source Serra de Bornes is hugely compromised by drought… and so all the problems go on.

Says Lusa, according to local councillors, this year’s drought has aggravated a structural problem in these north eastern villages which suffer from “deficient systems” but which  in the summer months see populations double, due to the arrival of emigés for the holiday month of August.

Source: LUSA