Sand replacement works at Praia dos 3 Irmãos have already been contracted but will only start in October

The contract for the dredging of the channel and bar of the Ria de Alvor, with the replacement of removed sand […]

Chamber President Isilda Gomes with the Minister of the Environment

The contract for the dredging of the Ria de Alvor channel and bar, with the replacement of the sand removed from the beach of Alvor Nascente (Três Irmãos), was signed yesterday in Portimão, but the works will only start in October, after the bathing season .

Yesterday, at a ceremony in the Hall of Portimão, which was attended by the minister of the Environment, the main focus was given to the replacement of the sand dredged in the estuary on the beach next door, in order to reinforce its dune cord and the restore the sand “to 60s values”.

For this, the beach will be increased by 30 meters in width, in an intervention that will cost 2 million euros, of which 1,96 million will be financed through POSEUR.

Nuno Lacasta, president of the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), explained, showing aerial images of the beach over the decades, that «since the 60s, there has been a pronounced erosion», which results «from natural phenomena, but also from [bad] decisions and options for spatial planning, which we are trying to correct today».

For his part, Environment Minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes underlined the current commitment to “natural engineering” solutions, in “works always parallel to the coast” and not, as was done at one time, with disastrous effects for the coast and the beaches that are “barefoot in the sand”, building spurs.

The government official stressed that climate change "is a problem that we have to adapt to and, at the same time, have the capacity to restore some of the dynamics". Therefore, "the continuous reinforcement and replenishment of the sands have to be done by the hand of man".

The president of the APA also recalled that this is already the fourth intervention to be carried out on Alvor Nascente beach, stressing that "this type of intervention must be carried out regularly."

The work, which will be carried out in partnership with DGRM, will make it possible to take advantage of the 250 cubic meters that will be dredged from the interior of the Ria de Alvor, to replenish the beach. It will be, therefore, «a useful work from the point of view of the beach, the dune and the estuary», guaranteed Nuno Lacasta.

The mayor of Portimão expressed her satisfaction at the fact that the work is progressing on two fronts, solving the problems of silting up in the Ria de Alvor, but also the safety of the beach. “A year or so ago, there was a decentralized meeting of the Municipal Assembly in Alvor and the theme was the alleged inability of the Government to resolve this issue. We voted against the motion. And here is proof that the Government is working hard on the work», said the mayor.

Stressing that the recent storms "have given reason to the need to strengthen the dune cordon", Isilda Gomes stressed the strategic importance that the beaches have for the economy of her municipality and the region. “At Easter, we had even more water meters and consumers than last year in August. This proves that tourists continue to consider us a top destination», with the beaches of Rocha and Alvor «on a level that makes us very proud».

On the other hand, stressed the mayor, "our fishermen are also happy, because we are combining business with pleasure, providing other safety and navigability conditions for the Ria de Alvor".

The Environment Minister would end by stressing that this is "an undertaking so important for environmental preservation and for the improvement of beaches." «The Portuguese want to know who has to take care of the beach, who has the bridge. They just want things to be well taken care of and working», added João Pedro Matos Fernandes.

In addition to these dredging in the Ria de Alvor, with replacement of the sand on the beach to reinforce the dune cordon, the government official recalled two other similar ones underway in the Algarve – the dredging of the Fuzeta and Armona bars, in the Ria Formosa. It is, he said, just three of the countless "interventions in the hundreds of kilometers of coast that the country has."

"POSEUR has already approved 47 operations for environmental protection of the coast, 110 million euros are invested in the coast, 65 kilometers of coast with these contracts, of which 20 are already concluded".

The Environment Minister guaranteed that the general objective of the interventions is "to return this coast at least as we found it and, if possible, even better". For this, he argued, it is necessary to "reduce direct human pressure on the coast." "The last hotel on the coast has already been built!", stressed Matos Fernandes, adding that now "we have to do better, so that we can guarantee the physiognomy of the coastline".

At the same ceremony in the Portimão Chamber, it was also signed, between the APA, the Environmental Fund and the local authority, the contract that guarantees 65 euros for the recovery of damage to the coast caused by recent storms.

Just yesterday afternoon, the Minister of Environment inaugurated Companheira's WWTP, in Portimão, a 13,8 million euro project aimed at improving the quality of water in the Boina stream and in the Arade estuary.


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação