water reservoir and trees during twilight

The Alqueva reservoir, in the Alentejo, rose by 1.87 meters in the last week, with an inflow of almost 360 million cubic meters of water, and is now “at 80%” of capacity, revealed the president of the management company.

“The last two storms that crossed our territory brought important rainfall and also brought runoff” to the reservoir, José Pedro Salema, president of the Alqueva Development and Infrastructure Company (EDIA), told Lusa.

In a statement published today on its Facebook page, EDIA said that at 8:00 a.m., the Alqueva reservoir was at 148.60, representing a rise of 1.87 meters compared to last Monday.

“This rise in elevation is reflected in an inflow of 358 cubic hectometers (hm3) of water,” added the company, indicating that the reservoir was storing 3,332 hm3 at that time.

Contacted by Lusa, the president of EDIA said that this figure means that Alqueva is at “80%” of its maximum storage capacity and stressed that, due to the heavy rain that fell in the region last week, today’s figures “run the risk” of becoming “quickly out of date”.

“The inflows [to Alqueva] are still significant,” warned José Pedro Salema.

During the last week, thanks to the rain that fell, the rise in the reservoir was due to the water coming from the Guadiana River, which “had very relevant flows arriving” at Alqueva, with figures “close to 1,200 cubic meters per second, which is something like an Olympic swimming pool every two seconds,” he said.

And the water stored in the reservoir also increased as a result of the water that came from “other streams” and the discharges made by dams: “The Lucefécit dam discharged, the Monte Novo dam, near Évora, also discharged,” he said.

“So an important river basin that converges in Alqueva has been productive in recent days and still is. The Guadiana is still flowing at around 400 cubic meters per second and so the rise will continue, now at a slower pace, but there’s still a lot of water coming in,” said the president of EDIA.

And if a couple of weeks ago, when Alqueva was at 72%, the situation was positive, now, with the mother reservoir at 80%, the outlook is even more favorable for the system supplied by the project, according to José Pedro Salema.

“Winter is still far from over, we still have many months to go until spring, when there may also be significant outflows. So we’re comfortable, whether more water comes or not,” he said.

The Alqueva Multipurpose Project guarantees water for agriculture, with an irrigated area of 130,000 hectares, for public and industrial supply and for hydroelectric power generation, as well as boosting tourism in the Alentejo region.

The government has announced a series of measures to deal with the drought, almost all of which are aimed at the Algarve, while, as far as the Alentejo is concerned, it has awarded the contract to connect the Monte da Rocha dam (Ourique) to Alqueva, work involving an investment of 28.5 million euros and which should be ready “by the end of 2025”.

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