Diogo Vasconcelos, who chairs the Association of Young Farmers of the South (AJASUL), told Lusa agency that he is concerned about the news that the regional parliament of Andalusia, in Spain, has approved a “non-legislative proposal” recommendation, requesting water from Alqueva due to the drought.
This desire to bring water from the Alqueva to Andalusia, namely from the Guadiana River downstream of the dam, has also been expressed by farmers in the Spanish region.
“I don't understand why we should give up the little stored water that we have, in one of the few places we have to store it, to Spanish farmers, when the Portuguese also have a lack of water”, said Diogo Vasconcelos.
Pointing out that Portugal is also facing “a very long period of drought”, with “so little water and storage capacity”, the association leader considered that the country “cannot afford” to give up or sell what it has stored.
“I hope this isn’t just news”, he stressed, arguing that the transfer or sale to the Spanish “will not solve the problem of lack of water in the country, but will worsen it”.
Considering that “the Spanish installed more irrigation than they could irrigate”, the president of AJASUL highlighted that farmers in the neighbouring country, like the Portuguese, are faced with “a lack of storage capacity”.
Diogo Vasconcelos added that the eventual delivery of water from Alqueva to Spanish farmers is also “a matter of national defense”, as, faced with a possible “serious lack of water in the Alentejo, the only solution is Alqueva”.
The Andalusian parliament approved a proposal to transfer water rights from users of Alqueva to users of the Tinto-Odiel-Piedras and Chanza river basin, within the scope of cooperation between Portugal and Spain, due to the extreme drought situation facing the agricultural sector in the Huelva area, reported the newspaper Público, in the middle of this month.