Reported by Lusa, António Eusébio, who participated in the National Meeting of Water Management Entities (ENEG), in Gondomar, described a critical scenario in the dams of the Algarve, which as a whole do not exceed around 56 cubic hectometres (hm3).
“The Algarve needs more than 115 hm3, not for human consumption, which uses 70 to 75 hm3, but for all other necessary purposes. Looking at this scenario, we are going to get less than 10 hm3 from groundwater, there is a lot of water left to go beyond the year 2024”, stated António Eusébio.
In accordance with the person responsible, the Odeleite dam currently has around 26 hm3, after the input of around 10.5 hm3 with the October rains, the Odelouca dam has 8.8 hm3, which added another 500 thousand cubic meters at the time.
In Bravura, the situation is more critical, with the dam close to the dead volume level, a situation that has already happened this year. In Funcho, the water level is around 11 million cubic meters.
Despite the country being at the beginning of the wet period, António Eusébio assumes that the Algarve is experiencing “one of the most critical situations ever in terms of water scarcity” and is concerned with “what might happen”.
For several years, an investment effort has been made to overcome these constraints, now reinforcing an allocation of €170 million from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR).
The joint plan to mitigate the effects of drought in the region estimates that it will be possible to achieve around five hm3 in agriculture and two in public supply by reusing this water resource.
On the other hand, the desalination plant will produce 16 million cubic meters of fresh water per year.
To these measures are added the capture of the dead volume of the Odeleite dam – fro m450 liters per second and the capture of the Guadiana River.
However, despite large investments, these measures represent around 62 million cubic meters and may not be sufficient if the course of climate change is not reversed.
The person in charge admits, despite every effort that’s being made to meet deadlines, it will be difficult to complete some of these investments by 2026 – such as the desalination plant in Guadiana.
Over a 10-year period, António Eusébio anticipate that other investments of the same order of magnitude will be necessary, including a new desalination plant.
The administrator who participated this afternoon in a round table, which discussed the circular economy combating the threat of climate change, admitted that “measures a little more aggressive in other sectors””, given the critical situation in which the region finds itself.
At the start of ENEG, the vice-president of the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), José Pimenta Machado admitted that the water shortage in the Algarve is the “worst ever” and if this scenario continues, in early 2024 it may be necessary to impose limits on consumption.