Highlighted by their large size, these words are located in the Alqueva Dam to show and remind people the importance of the biggest irrigation project in progress in Europe. Located in Portugal the Alqueva Dam started working in 2010 with its main goal to irrigate the whole region of Alentejo.
Basically, the idea of this big wall was to create a artificial lake that would help irrigating large areas of land, for a longer amount of time. This project can ensure water supply to an area of approximately 10 000km². The size of the surface comes to 250km² and has a depth of 39m. The water paths created will supply the public agriculture, industry and actually help in the production of clean energy. The company of EDIA was created in order to help the region gain a more agricultural character.
EDIA’s mission was to conceive, execute and build the infrastructures to promote regional, economic and social development. With the help of EDIA local farmers now have water that will help them develop and ensure that this project is a success. Water is helping the farmers diversify and increase their crops and invest in more efficient equipment.
Many people are in favor of this project especially local farmers. It has brought a new quality of life to most locals that really appreciate. «200 000 hectares of land can now be irrigated» declares José Fialho from EDIA company, emphasizing this huge advantage that the Alqueva Dam has to offer!
Not everyone though agrees with that statement. Objectively the Dam has economical, environmental and social disadvantages which actually bring the question whether the advantages are more than the disadvantages. Many problems are created during the building of the Dam and most of them are irreversible. Many archaeological findings were destroyed as well as animal habitats and cultural tangible and intangible heritage. Another matter that influences the environment is the water pollution. The polluted water is a danger for both animal life and soil which will eventually affect the quality of the crops and. Biodiversity is threatened day by day as the level of the water rises. Economy disadvantages also exist while most of the economical profit goes to foreigners that have invested in this project leaving the inhabitants with very little. Another dilemma is the situation of the Luz village inhabitants who had to leave their homes to make way for the dam. Though the company compensated them with a «better» home, one may question if this new home can replace what they had before, that is memories.
All considering, the impact of the Alqueva Dam has been tremendous. Would have a smaller version of the dam made all stakeholders happier?
Grupo 2: Joslyn Falzon, Marina Georgiou, Martins Mozga, Rui Costa.