“Desalination is a possibility that must be resorted to as a last resort - when all other alternatives have been exhausted. And this location is a tragedy for fishermen - desalination has very high energy consumption and major environmental impacts”, highlighted this association.

For QUARPESCA, the “eventual implementation of this project jeopardises the quality and quantity of fish” in those waters.

“Consequently, it makes it impossible for many families of fishermen who live from the sea to sustain themselves”, he stressed, guaranteeing that fishermen will not accept that it will “pollute and ruin their workplace and will fight to the point of exhaustion against this environmental crime”.

In disagreement with the project, the fishermen also highlighted, in the statement, that they are “perfectly aware of the problems generated by the lack of water in the Algarve”.

“Even because this same water (from rain) contains important nutrients for the development and attraction of various species of fish to the coastal areas. Falésia Beach is one of the most popular beaches for tourism. A source of pride for us in the Algarve”, highlighted QUARPESCA.

For the fishermen's association, the construction of the station “is contradictory to European Union guidelines”, because it does not promote the protection of the Algarve's coastal areas and sea and does not respect the basic principle of 'doing no significant harm (DNSH)' (… ) of public and private financing”.

This association also expressed surprise that this type of project was being planned “just five miles” from a protected Marine Area, the Recife do Algarve Marine Natural Park - Pedra do Valado, in which “the aim is to preserve the 1,294 marine species”.

On April 3, the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) issued an Environmental Impact Statement (DIA) in favor of the seawater desalination plant project to be installed in Albufeira, in the district of Faro, although conditional on compliance with a set of conditions.

According to that entity, despite considering that the impacts are not significant, “a set of requirements aimed at safeguarding these possible impacts, as well as the development of possible additional minimization measures” were incorporated into the decision.

According to the APA, given that the environmental impact assessment procedure took place in the preliminary study phase, “a second assessment will occur in the execution project phase, with a view to verifying the environmental compliance of the execution project” issued.

The construction of a desalination plant in the municipality of Albufeira, whose base value is 90 million euros, is one of the response measures to the drought affecting the southern region of Portugal, with the equipment expected to have an initial water conversion capacity from the sea in the potable capacity of 16 cubic hectometres.

According to Águas do Algarve, the company responsible for supplying water in the region, which is responsible for managing infrastructure such as dams or Wastewater Treatment Plants, the work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026.

This is the year established as the limit for the use of PRR funds, a support program created by the European Union to revitalise the economy after the covid-19 pandemic.

The Algarve is being affected by a drought that caused a shortage of water reserves and the previous Government took measures to restrict consumption to be applied from March, such as cuts of 25% to agriculture and 15% to the urban sector.

Related article: