“We have annual water losses in the order of five million cubic metres in the irrigation perimeter of Silves, Lagoa and Portimão and around two million in Alvor, which is very significant for the dry period we are going through”, said Pedro Valadas Monteiro.
The volume of water wasted annually in distribution channels is higher than that currently recorded by the Bravura dam, in Lagos, - about five million cubic metres - which serves the hydro-agricultural perimeter of Alvor, covering an area of about 1,800 hectares.
According to the official, to avoid losses along the channels, “a total of €35 million will be invested in isolation and pressurisation works” of the irrigation channels, €27 million in the Silves, Lagoa, Portimão perimeter and around €8 million in Alvor.
“At the moment, the works on the Silves block are finished, with those of Lagoa and Falacho still to be completed and, in 2023, it is planned to start the modernisation of the Bravura channel, of the irrigation perimeter of Alvor, the one that is in the worst condition and where works are already underway to cover the channel, with the application of insulating fabric to cover the cracks along 10 kilometres, between Odiáxere and Vale da Lama”, he said.
According to Pedro Valadas Monteiro, “in practice, in this last perimeter, converting the system, which is gravity-fed into pressurised, will allow annual water savings of around two million cubic metres, and around five million in Silves”.
“The interventions and pressurisation of the system will allow for the minimising of impacts of drought in years with lower than expected rainfall”, he concluded.
Built in 1958, the Bravura dam is intended for agricultural irrigation, golf courses, gardens and public supply, covering around 1,800 hectares of farms in the hydro-agricultural perimeter of Alvor, with a total of 937 beneficiaries.
The Bravura dam is the reservoir in the western Algarve with the smallest volume of water stored, around 14 percent of the 34 million cubic metres of its total capacity.