Almargem: Water collection in Pomarão is a “megaproject” that does not solve problems

«No one thinks it would be a good business to build a ski slope on Cerro de São Miguel»

The Almargem association considers that the capture of water in Pomarão (Guadiana), to reinforce the Odeleite dam, is a «megaproject» that will not solve «the structural problems» of water scarcity in the region. 

This environmental association participated in the public consultation that ended on April 29th, giving its opinion of disagreement.

«In addition to the various environmental impacts caused by this project, which are mentioned in Almargem's opinion, some flaws and omissions were also detected, namely, there is no sign of negotiation with neighboring Spain, Portugal's partner in managing the flow of the Guadiana River» , says Almargem.

The association's participation was based on three points.

In the first (ecological flow of the Guadiana-Alqueva), Almargem argues that «using for other economic purposes, an ecological flow, which was defined when the Alqueva Dam was built, will cause serious environmental damage that will compromise populations, economic sectors of small size and above all natural values ​​downstream of this new catchment system».

«The availability of water will always depend on rainfall and the commitments of the company that manages the Alqueva irrigation area, Empresa de Desenvolvimento e Infraestruturas do Alqueva, SA (EDIA), in addition to having to maintain the ecological flow, a flow that EDIA has to fulfill”, he adds.

In Almargem's opinion, it is «very irresponsible for the region to want to support, through this source of water, economic sectors (mainly tourism and agriculture), instead of opting for measures to reduce consumption and promote measures to increase infiltration and availability of water in the soil”.

On the second point (lack of information and agreement by EDIA), the association considers it «irresponsible to advance to this point, the intention of licensing this project without there being an understanding with EDIA and/or a formalized agreement (it is not public whether there is , since nothing was disclosed on this matter)».

Finally, in relation to dependence on the availability of water, «it is Almargem's understanding that the authorities should take into account the sustainable development of the region, and not promote the economy based mainly on two highly water-consuming sectors».

Almargem proposes that the company Águas do Algarve uses «a surface capture model, to be applied at the various points where discharges occur from the Pumping Stations that connect the systems of the main dams for public supply».

Although this volume of water is unknown to the general public, «there is a huge flow, not systematically calculated, and which is underutilized, because it is lost in the environment. This resource is wasted and will be a more beneficial reinforcement for the water supply in the Algarve, without the impacts of the Pomarão work».

The environmental association Almargem «argues that the solution involves adopting an economic model in the region supported by the carrying capacity of the territory, promoting sustainable development, which considers the territory's capacity to provide natural resources and that the economic sectors adapt and manage their activities depending on the abundant existence, or not, of certain resources”.

«No one thinks that it would be a good business to build a ski slope in Cerro de São Miguel, and in the same way, you cannot scale water consumption to a quantity that does not exist», he concludes.

Furthermore, both Sustainable Water Platform (PAS), like the Zero association They have also spoken out against this work, which is part of the Algarve Water Efficiency Plan.