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New Albufeira flood defence - 'not before 2020'

albufeira2Three months after the November 1st  floods devastated downtown Albufeira last year, the repair work to its public spaces and roads is close to completion and the council has announced its plans to prevent a similar situation happening again.

While keeping its fingers crossed until 2020, the council is preparing “an efficient drainage plan.”

"In the most visible part, which is downtown Albufeira, the fixing of the public infrastructure is completely done," said mayor Carlos Silva e Sousa, adding that some ongoing work to the culverts and beach areas continues.

The cost of this work is not yet known but certainly will be over €1 million.

The council has been in contact with the team responsible for the successful Lisbon drainage plan and hopes to define exactly what is needed to keep Albufeira from flooding again.

Early ideas include the construction of a new tunnel to take flood water from the various streams heading towards the city and channel them to a location that is not affected by tide levels - one of the problems in the November 1st storm as flood water escape was hampered by a high tide.

Silva e Sousa said the new plan should take into account rising sea levels over the next century.

"As this is a very expensive piece of work and needs to be in service for a century or more, we need to hear the opinions of the population so as to choose the option that best suits the need," said the mayor.

The council is to invite the University of the Algarve and the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering to take part in the project, which should be finalised this year with the actual work starting in 2017.

"The completion of the work will not be before 2020," said Carlos Silva e Sousa, leaving four of five rainy seasons to be dealt with using the old system authorised by the former mayor Desidério Silva who ignored expert advice with devastating results.

In November last year the Portuguese Insurers Association announced that the damages covered by flood-related claims exceeded €14 million.

Desidério Silva, now running the regional tourist board, has remained silent on the subject of his authorisation of flood defence works that ignored the advice of the regional hydrological board and were carried out without correct licenses in place.

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