The extreme lack of water in the northeast section of the Algarve is setting off alarm bells in the rest of the region. Amidst growing concern as to what sort of conditions will be faced in the coming months, the Castro Marim Municipal Assembly have had to defend the construction of the Foupana Dam.
Progress has been made to reinforce the East Algarve’s water storage capabilities through a motion unanimously approved at a session held on September 30th, and which has already been sent to the central administration. It is worth that the Foupana Dam will work alongside the Odeleite Dam.
The construction of the dam has obviously caused stirs within environmentalist groups, however officials have pointed out how the drought issue has plagued the Algarve’s population, notably farmers, for many years. Thus, drastic measures must be taken to ensure stability.
“The construction of this new surface water storage system will substantially increase the existing capacity by about 70%, the domestic and agricultural system is already solidified, with the construction of the necessary water transport and distribution infrastructure across the Eastern and Central Algarve and with connections to the Funcho/Odelouca Hydraulic System in the West”, points out the written motion, titled “Reinforcement of Odeleite-Beliche Hydraulic Utilization- Foupana Dam Construction ”.
The document also addresses the current emergency situation, signalling that “more than 60% of the region is in extreme drought and the rest in severe drought”, with “devastating effects on landscapes and rain fed agriculture.”
Moreover, in Castro Marim there are residents of several small isolated villages who still do not have access to the public water network. The drought has also cruelly depleted several wells that usually provide water to these villages, most of which are habituated by vulnerable elderly people.
The motion is intended to convey to local, regional and national policy makers, including ministries and sovereign bodies, "the reasons that underpin the imperative need to strengthen the Algarve's water storage capacity, and its signalling as a strategic priority for decades to come."
This strategic reinforcement must pass, according to the motion itself, “through necessity, namely by constructing the long-anticipated Foupana dam”, between Castro Marim and Alcoutim.
The infrastructure would allow for “a very significant reinforcement of the Algarve's water storage capacity and, in particular, the Eastern Algarve”, as well as the lowering of “context costs”, given its “easy connection by proximity” with the Odeleite Dam.
The motion passed by the municipal assembly of Castro Marim explains that, given the storage capacity achieved in the existing two dams in the Eastern Algarve (Beliche- 38 million cubic meters and Odeleite- 130 million cubic metres), in Foupana dam the expected capacity would be 100 million m3, increasing the capacity significantly.
The local authority document states that there are already previous surveys at the level of topography and geological studies which prove the subject to be safe, and that the dam would be connected to the Beliche / Odeleite system through a short tunnel.