Work on reservoir to recommence

WORK ON the Barragem de Odelouca, the reservoir planned for the Barlavento, between Monchique and Silves, is ready to re-commence after being blocked for three years.

This was the guarantee from Minister for the Envinronment, Franciso Nunes Correia, at the signing of the contracts for the project last week. It is expected that the reservoir will be operational by 2010.

According to Águas do Algarve, the entity which had its project suspended in 2003 after a complaint was sent to Brussels by the Liga para a Protecção da Natureza, the nature protection league, it is the “principal project” for the primary water supply system of the Barlavento and one that could make it “drought proof”.

Representatives from Águas do Algarve, Instituto Nacional da Água (INAG) and the Teixeira Duarte Consortium were present for the signing of the contracts. The State has already invested 71 million euros in the project since 1999 and a further 70 million euros is needed to conclude the work. This amount is likely to be split between the câmaras, the EU and private sponsorship.

Águas do Algarve said the reservoir will serve the boroughs of Loulé, Albufeira, Lagoa, Silves, Portimão, Lagos, Vila do Bispo, Aljezur and Monchique.  At 76 metres in height, the Barragem de Odelouca will be interlinked to the Barragem do Funcho, through a tunnel that has already been constructed. It will replace the existing water supply system in the western Algarve.

This reservoir is, according to Águas do Algarve, imperative due to the increased degradation in the quality of the region’s subterranean aquifers and the lack of adequate water supplies in critical years. Following the conclusion of the work, it will be necessary to proceed and fill the structure, which will take at least a year.

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