The ProTejo movement criticized the Government for “resurrecting” the Alvito dam and argues that the simplest solution is the implementation of regular ecological flows from Spain.
Environmentalists understand that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action presented an “expensive and innocuous solution” to reinforce water resilience and the ecological status of the Tagus River, “by resurrecting the Alvito dam, to satisfy the project for new weirs and dams on the Tagus”.
The Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, said on Tuesday that the construction of the Alvito dam and the reuse of treated water for agriculture are two important solutions for reinforcing the river’s hydrographic resilience.
“A new dam seems very important to us [Alvito]. We will then discuss, probably, the dimension of it. What we did was recover a project that already had a environmental impact [favorável]. We are starting from an existing project and it is easier to introduce this proposal”, said the minister, in Proença-a-Nova, during the public session to present the solutions for reinforcing the water resilience of the Tagus.
According to the ProTejo movement, the Government thus gives “the first of many axes” to the Tagus “by resurrecting the Alvito dam, the first dam that will serve the strategy of the Tagus Project, which foresees the construction of new weirs and dams in the Tejo, included in a package of solutions to reinforce the water resilience of the Tagus”.
The environmentalists propose that regular ecological flows be established in the Tagus River, continuous and instantaneous, measured in cubic meters per second (m3/s), and respecting the seasonality of the seasons, in compliance with the Water Framework Directive, Spanish legislation and Portuguese, as opposed to the minimum flows negotiated politically and administratively, 24 years ago, in the Albufeira Convention, without materializing the process of transition to the ecological flow regime that that same convention foresees.
“The simplest solution, and one that is feasible, is the implementation of regular ecological flows from Spain and not inventing justifications for the astronomical additional costs for Portuguese taxpayers”, defends the ProTejo movement. For environmentalists, the distribution of the minimum annual flow of the Albufeira Convention would ensure a flow of 45 cubic meters/second (m3/s) in the summer quarter, more than twice the maximum of 20 cubic meters/second of the dam contribution do Alvito, proposed by the Ministry of the Environment.
“What has changed?” asks ProTejo
“The ‘solution’ of the Alvito dam has no significance, if we compare it with the distribution of 100% of the minimum annual flow, already foreseen in the Albufeira Convention, with a regular, continuous, instantaneous ecological flow regime measured in cubic meters /per second, according to the seasonality already expressed in the quarterly flows of the Convention”, refers, in a press release, the movement to protect the Tagus River.
ProTejo argues that the volume of 2,700 cubic hectometers of minimum annual flow, established in the Albufeira Convention, “is sufficient and has been complied with, even in years of drought, all that remains is to demand that it can flow to Portugal respecting an ecological flow regime such as determines the Water Framework Directive”.
“What changed to choose to build the Alvito dam, which had been suspended to ‘find optimization solutions’ because it was not considered profitable by EDP?”, asks the association, in a statement.
The ProTejo movement also defends the definition of a long-term strategy, based on the creation and restoration of ecological corridors of indigenous forest, riparian vegetation and biodiversity along rivers and streams, “which allows for the generation, regeneration, retention and purification of water, with the aim of achieving greater availability and quality”.
The movement also defends that an investment be made “of only 10 million euros” in the construction of a Water Collection Station directly from the Tagus River in the Lezíria do Tejo area for agricultural use and the promotion of sustainable agriculture, which is efficient. water and preserve biodiversity and sustainability of life.
ProTejo adds that “citizens will have to submit a complaint to the European Commission against Portugal and Spain”, for “non-compliance” with the Water Framework Directive and for non-compliance with the European Strategy for Biodiversity 2030.