Owner of the land for the desalination plant challenges expropriation in court

State offered, in the expropriation, 630 thousand euros; the land is valued at 15 million

Photos: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação

The owner of the land on which the construction of the desalination plant, on the coast of the municipality of Albufeira, is against the installation of the project. Albida Ferreira received the expropriation letter in December, but has already challenged the administrative possession in court and promises not to give up. At his side, there is a group of foreigners from Albufeira who will begin an awareness-raising campaign to halt the progress of the desalination plant, citing environmental reasons. 

The land, which is located near Falésia beach, «is not for sale».

“Not for any reason,” he said this Wednesday, February 7th, to Sul Informação, Albida Ferreiro, daughter of the owner of the company Seacliff - Purchase and Sale of Properties, owner of Quinta da Ponte.

It is there that they want to install the desalination plant, on land that “has great sentimental value” for the family. Purchased in 2005 for 1,7 million euros, the space is now valued at 15 million.

What the State offered, in the expropriation, was 630 thousand euros, according to Albida.

Speaking to journalists, at a press conference held this Tuesday morning, next to the entrance to Falésia beach, the owner explained what the family's desire was.

«What we wanted to do was a nursing home on land surrounded by living nature, sheep, animals around. We hadn't delivered the project yet, but this is my father's dream,” he said.

The family received, on December 27th, the expropriation letter, sent by Águas do Algarve; Before, in February 2023 a letter had arrived with the intention to purchase, rejected by the owners.

According to Albida, the expropriation has already been challenged in court and will not stop there. Despite not knowing the legal framework, the owner's daughter guarantees that she will not give up.

In this home, which would be private, the objective was to create something “similar to what they do in Switzerland”, with the right to a private infirmary. One of the ideas even involved creating a helicopter landing strip «to have quick access to hospitals».

Everything, according to Albida, would be “surrounded by nature”. «We are nature lovers: we don’t want it to be destroyed», he reiterates.

But wouldn't the very construction of this home that the family intended to build on the land also have its impacts?

«The works would not jeopardize the environmental issue because everything would be reusable. We have solar panels, the water is reusable, the home itself would be sustainable», he guarantees.

Despite having owned the land since 2005, the owners say they have not yet moved forward with the home project because they have “other works” underway.

Asked whether this is an environmental fight or an economic one, Albida assured that what drives her is the preservation of the environment.

And he added: «if the environment is bad, the economy is also bad. Tourism is what feeds the Algarve; If Praia da Falésia, the apartments, tourism are ruined, everything becomes devalued».

In this battle, Albida Ferreiro has the support of an informal group of foreigners who were born in Albufeira, but have now expanded to the rest of the Algarve.


Paolo Funassi – Photo: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação



Paolo Funassi is the founder and was also present at this Wednesday's press conference.

Speaking to journalists, the Italian, resident in Albufeira, explained that the owner of the land is also part of the group and asked for help to carry out “a media battle to alert citizens”.

«We are concerned about the environment. This is Falésia Beach, one of the 10 most beautiful in the world: imagine what it would be like to create a desalination plant here that will create contamination and pollution, with the brine thrown into the sea. The pipes will pass under the beach: imagine the damage», he considered.

For the group of foreigners, there would be “other solutions to the lack of water”, giving as an example combating losses in the network or a possible connection that would bring water from dams in the North to those in the South.

«The reuse of wastewater is very low and I think there are other solutions. So, we are going to invest millions and millions to create another damage – to tourism, residents and fishermen", he defended.

One of the main opponents of the desalination project has been, since the beginning, the Sustainable Water Platform (PAS), which was also present at yesterday's press conference.

Maria Emília Costa, member of PAS, explained that the platform, which already spoke out against it during the public consultation that ended in December, considers that the “dangers are immense”.

«In addition to acting in the aquatic and marine environment, the lethality can be very high, both at the time of discharging the brine [which results from the desalination process], and at the place where the seawater is collected. Another important issue is that the pipeline passes through the cliff, on the cliff, and will destabilize it. The sea water will be altered because there is a very high concentration of metals, microorganisms and all the dirty water from the station's washings that will join the brine», he defended.

Another issue is the Ribeira de Quarteira which will have “occasional discharges” that will damage the life of this habitat; Added to this is an «increase in water temperature that will reach 26 degrees».

Basically, he concluded, it will be «a set of problems in an area of ​​excellence on our coast».



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