Portugal is to have its first desalination plant, in Albufeira

PORTUGAL IS TO HAVE ITS FIRST DESALINATION PLANT, IN ALBUFEIRAMainland Portugal will have its first desalination plant, with proposed construction in Albufeira. The opening of the tender should take place by the end of the year, with the plant supected to be in action by 2026.

In an announcement today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro explained that there is also another desalination plant in the Alentejo planned, “we have also programmed another desalination plant for the Alentejo coast, in response to the growing needs that we will feel in the industrial sectors and tourism”.

The Albufeira plant will be the first in mainland Portugal, but the first desalination plant was in Porto Santo, Madeira, opened in 1980 and managed by Águas e Residuos da Madeira (ARM). It is the only source of drinking water used for the public supply of the island, which is produced from sea water through reverse osmosis desalination units.

AMAL (Algarve Intermunicipal Community) welcomes the choice of Albufeira for a new desalination plant, which could produce a third of the urban water needs in the southern region.

“It is the step we had been waiting for”, said AMAL's President, António Miguel Pina.

“According to the studies carried out by Águas de Portugal and which will be delivered for the environmental impact assessment, the place where we are going to propose the installation of the desalination plant is the municipality of Albufeira”, said the minister at the Assembly of the Republic, in Lisbon, during a debate over the water.

António Miguel Pina, who is also mayor of Olhão, made an analogy with the insurance sector to underline that “in periods of prolonged drought, as we are now witnessing, we will have greater insurance” with the construction of the desalination plant.

The socialist mayor underlined the “very big job” done by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) and the company that carried out the environmental impact study that made it possible to decide on the location of the future water production unit from salt water.

"Now what is expected is that the execution project is quickly reached and that, as the minister said, the work is put out to tender quickly", added António Miguel Pina.

According to studies carried out, the cost of water produced in this way is around 10 euro cents per cubic metre.


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