Lively debate on water marks Jornadas do Mundo Rural de Alcoutim

Osvaldo Gonçalves said he was “proud” of the program and of the speakers who agreed to be present

Osvaldo Gonçalves – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação

They started lively, with a lively debate on a topic on the agenda, Water, and continued with sessions on Ecosystems and Landscape, Agroforestry and Climate and Hunting. Alcoutim once again promoted the debate on the problems of the interior, in another Rural World Days, which took place on Thursday, February 29th, and Friday, March 1st.

«I am very proud of the program we organized and the group of speakers we managed to attract for these days, because they cover, in a very generic way, everything that is the life of the rural world, which has an impact on our common life», he summarized to the Sul Informação Osvaldo Gonçalves, president of the Chamber of Alcoutim, on the sidelines of the session on the topic of water.

This first panel of the conferences was, moreover, very well attended, especially because, as was clear from the session, the topic of water management and the strategy that the Algarve region should follow in the future is far from consensual.

«We wanted to bring together different sensibilities on the topic of water, because we cannot look at the problem from just one angle. This has to be seen in an integrated way, with different views. Otherwise, we will never get anywhere», said the mayor.

Therefore, in addition to the views of AMAL – Comunidade Intermunicipal do Algarve, farmers (Mácário Correia, association of irrigators of Sotavento Algarvio) and the company Águas do Algarve (António Eusébio), there was also space to know what academics think about this subject – university professors and researchers Rodrigo Proença de Oliveira and Manuela Moreira da Silva -, as well as the position of the president of EDIA, the company that manages Alqueva, which made it clear that he does not consider it a good idea for this project to provide water to the Algarve.



Despite going against a request made in the same session by António Pina (AMAL), this position by Pedro Salema was not even the one that caused the most friction among the invited speakers. The issue of building more dams, defended by mayors and farmers, was more controversial, with water resources experts present warning that the solution involves integrated management – ​​and never sectoral – of all the water that exists in the Algarve and that which may exist in the future.

In the end, the only certainty that remained was that, without much rain falling, Failing to invest heavily in saving water is not an option, at least in the short term.

The debate on water took place after the opening session, where, in addition to Osvaldo Gonçalves, Mário Tomé, president of the neighboring Chamber of Mértola, the entity co-organizing the days, and José Apolinário, president of the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission, were present.

The Mayor of Mertolen highlighted the importance of moments of discussion such as the Jornadas do Mundo Rural – which have moments every year in both municipalities – rejecting the idea that nothing comes of them.

«It is because of events like this that it is possible to continue the fight on the ground», he stated, giving the examples of the Competence Center for the Fight against Desertification, in Alcoutim, and the Mértola Biological Station, which he considers to be positive achievements for the territory.

José Apolinário, taking advantage of the theme of the session that would follow, argued that water and the problems arising from its scarcity should be «a reason for unity and not division», in the Algarve.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação



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