Tender for the Foupana dam project launched by the end of the month

President of the Sotavento irrigation association points out Foupana, Alportel and Ribeira de Monchique as first-rate developments in the coming years

Ribeira da Foupana – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação (file)

The competition for the project of the new Foupana dam, in the Algarve, should be launched by the end of this month, the president of the Sotavento Algarvio Irrigation Association, Macário Correia, told Lusa today.

“The Government guaranteed me half a million euros and the Sotavento Regantes Association, […] together with Águas do Algarve, has already started working on the specifications so that, in the next few days, we can launch the competition for the project of this dam ”, said the director in statements to the Lusa agency.

For the person responsible, who was Secretary of State for the Environment in Cavaco Silva's government in the 1980s, this project, which is accompanied by an environmental impact study, will be “the first step” in the construction of a dam that will provide a “breath” to the problems posed by the lack of water in the Eastern Algarve.

“Whether for urban supply, for agriculture, for tourism, for golf, with Foupana done we feel more at ease. Something that we are not at the moment”, stated Macário Correia, who also presided over the Chambers of Tavira for 12 years, and of Faro.

The Association of Beneficiaries of the Sotavento Algarvio Irrigation Plan (ABPRSA) recalled, in a statement released a few weeks ago, that in the last 40 years four large dams have been built in the Algarve: Beliche, in 1986, Funcho in 1993, Odeleite in 1997 and Odelouca in 2009.

Macário Correia, who since leaving political life has dedicated himself to the production of orange and carob, recalled the strategy foreseen in the Algarve Water Efficiency Plan and in the Water Pact, arguing that “it is necessary to take advantage of the water that rains before it become salty.”

The president of the Sotavento irrigation association points to Foupana, Alportel and Ribeira de Monchique as first-rate developments in the coming years, also highlighting an ongoing project to create a desalination plant in Albufeira.

Macário Correia also took the opportunity to praise the current Minister of the Environment, Duarte Cordeiro, who claims to be completely different from his predecessor, João Pedro Matos Fernandes.

“This minister has a much more positive stance, much more dialogue and much more visionary and strategic than the previous one. The previous one is to blame for there being no dams in the Algarve,” he said, adding that Matos Fernandes “said stupid things”.

The former government official criticized the former leader of the Bloco de Esquerda Catarina Martins for having “an extraordinary vision of dams”, saying, according to him, that “they shouldn’t be done because the water evaporates”.

“I don’t know what the country would be like without dams. Lisbon didn't drink, it didn't have Castelo de Bode, Alentejo didn't have irrigation, the Algarve didn't drink, it would have some saltwater and silt water holes”, he highlighted, concluding that “dams are necessary here and in any part of the world ”.

The Algarve agricultural leader recalled that currently the five largest dams in the southern region of the country “are all at low levels”, a “worrying” situation, if there is no significant rain by November.

On the other hand, Macário Correia accused the Algarve Municipal Councils of being “incoherent”, as they were use more water than last year, when there is less and less water.

“Right now, something that is incoherent, we are cutting off water in agriculture, in golf courses, in gardens, but there are roundabouts, tarmacs and sidewalks being watered every day”, he stated.

Ribeira da Foupana is a watercourse that originates in Serra do Caldeirão, at an altitude of 495 meters, running through the Algarve municipalities of Alcoutim and Castro Marim and flowing into Ribeira de Odeleite, just before its mouth on the right bank of the River Guadiana.