Câmara de Silves will launch a preliminary study to create a water mirror in front of the city

Rosa Palma does not want to give up on this «old dream of Silves»

Riverside area of ​​Silves, where the intention is to create a permanent water mirror – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

The Municipality of Silves will launch, later this year, the tender for the preparation of the preliminary study of the water mirror to be created in the river Arade, opposite the city, from the «road bridge to the pool area».

The news was revealed to Sul Informação by Rosa Palma, mayor of Silves, who said that what is planned is to create a dam, which will allow maintaining a permanent water mirror with a depth of 2,2 meters.

The height of the waters of the river Arade right opposite the city of Silves, about eight kilometers from the mouth, is still affected by the tides, which means that, for half the day, there is no water in that area.

This prevents, for example, the boats of the maritime-tourist companies that go up the Arade from the estuary, in Portimão, from being able to do so outside the hours of high tide.

«The preliminary study will define the various hypotheses for creating this permanent water mirror. Then, among these hypotheses, the Chamber of Silves will choose one», added the mayor.


Rosa Palma - Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


The launch of the public tender for the preliminary study will have already been articulated, with the Portuguese Environment Agency, and there have also been meetings with the president of the Commission for Coordination and Regional Development and with the director general of Natural Resources.

For now, it is not yet known what the cost of the intervention will be, since everything depends on the solution indicated by the previous study.

In addition, before any work is carried out and if, in fact, it is concluded that it is necessary to go ahead with the creation of the water mirror, the Environmental Impact Assessment of the intervention will still have to be carried out. «Then it will be up to the Algarve Regional Coordination Commission and the Government itself to decide whether to go ahead or not and how».

As for funding, Rosa Palma revealed that she would like «this water mirror work to be included in Portugal 2030, not least because it has a lot to do with its guidelines, as it is an investment in an interior territory, in accessibility».

The water mirror, as part of a wider dream, that of desilting the Arade river, has been planned by the Câmara de Silves since 1995, when the autarchy was led by José Viola, also elected by the CDU, as well as Rosa Palma, the current Speaker of the House.

In an extensive article published in June 2022 in the local newspaper «Terra Ruiva», the former communist councilor Francisco Martins recalls the entire troubled process of the dream of desilting the Arade River and «restoring its navigability regardless of the condition of the tide».

He recalls that, in a project dated 1994, the creation of a water mirror on the riverfront to the road bridge was already foreseen, through the «construction of a dam, equipped with a system of floodgates, which can be climbed by the tide, for water renewal».


The Arade river, opposite Silves – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


The project at the time, which included an environmental impact study, an assessment of the archaeological heritage and a site for the disposal of dredged material, also included the desilting of a section of the river, through the «establishment of a navigable channel between the confluence with the Ribeira de Odelouca and a cross-section of 4,362 km, in the vicinity of Silves», ensuring the «navigability of small draft pleasure craft, up to 2 metres».

The execution project was approved «in a meeting of the Chamber held on May 23, 1995», and the 1st phase of the work, the water mirror, «was a candidate for the Environmental Operational Program in March 1996». But the application was rejected.

Since then, other attempts to revive the project have been made, but so far without any success.

Not wanting to give up, the executive of the Chamber of Silves chaired by Rosa Palma met, on the 1st of March, with Carlos Miguel, Secretary of State for Local Administration and Spatial Planning.

At the working meeting held under the “Government + Next” programme, “themes such as the water mirror project and the intention to desilt the Arade” were on the table, the municipality noted, days later, in a press release.

But it is not known whether or not the government official left the meeting sensitized, not least because this issue is not under his tutelage.

What is certain is that the Câmara de Silves does not seem willing to give up on this which is «an old dream that has been kept in the drawer».



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