Monchique rehabilitates the urban section of Ribeira do Ambrósio to prevent the 1997 catastrophe from happening again

On October 26, 1997, a real deluge hit the municipality of Monchique. The streams overflowed and, in […]

Archive photo of the floods in Monchique in October 1997, posted on Rui André's Facebook

On October 26, 1997, a real deluge hit the municipality of Monchique. The streams overflowed and, in the center of the village, the Ribeira do Ambrósio came out of its underground bed and flooded Largo dos Chorões. 20 years later, to prevent the situation from happening again, the urban section of this watercourse will receive works to the value of 359 thousand euros for its requalification.

On the 7th of February, the Municipality of Monchique signed the term of acceptance of the application made to PO SEUR – Sustainability and Efficiency Operational Program in the Use of Resources, to carry out cleaning work on the urban section of the river, either at the level of deforestation, as well as cleaning the solids carried by the last floods, which were never removed.

In addition to these works, structures will be created to reduce the entry of solids into the drainage tunnel, for the regularization of the riverbed and banks with stone walls and thresholds in reinforced concrete, and infrastructures that are in poor condition will be repaired.

Rui André with João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Minister of the Environment, at the signing of the term of acceptance of the candidacy

Rui André, Mayor of Monchique, remembers the 26th of October 1997 as one of the «most distressing in our recent history». The slope of the streams caused a rapid propagation of the flood wave. The floods transported blocks of syenite, sand, mud, tree trunks, and bridges, roads and even houses were destroyed all over the county. However, the images that remain in memory are those of Largo dos Chorões, completely “turned inside out”.

According to the mayor, this riverside rehabilitation work works like «a way of adapting to climate change, which give rise to increasingly extreme phenomena and for which effective measures are needed in terms of prevention and management of the associated risks”, such as clearing, regularizing and controlling floods.

The Municipality of Monchique explains that, at this time, «due to the most diverse factors (weather that devastated the county in October and November 1997, the wave of fires in the summer of 2003 and, more recently, the storms that occurred in the months of October/November of 2006), the hydrographic network collapsed or became vulnerable in the face of nature's aggressions and its recovery seems urgent”.

Field surveys carried out by the Technical Services of the Municipality of Monchique, in conjunction with the APA-ARH Algarve and, more recently, by technicians from external offices, found “several pathologies, including structural ones, which should be corrected in order to mitigate the risks flooding, infrastructure collapse, buildings on it and streets," adds the Monchique Town Council in the project's descriptive memory, to which the Sul Informação had access.

Rui André recalls that «this stream and the section in which we will intervene are part of the critical flooding areas provided for in the map of floodable areas of WISE – Water Information System for Europe, so the rehabilitation of the drainage system is essential and necessary in view of to improve the flow and flow of hydraulic sections, so as to also ensure their regularization and the consequent prevention of the effects of floods in the consolidated urban core of Monchique».

According to the application submitted, the start of the field work is scheduled for the month of May and the contract should end in November.