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Construction of Alto Alentejo dam confirmed to start in 2023

CONSTRUCTION OF ALTO ALENTEJO DAM CONFIRMED TO START IN 2023The financing contract  for construction works of the Pisão dam, in the municipality of Crato, Portalegre, has been signed with a proposed start for the project in 2023, to enter into “full functioning” in 2026.

“We hope that, in 2026, the Pisão dam and the hydraulic exploitation will come into full operation,” said the mayor of Crato, Joaquim Diogo, at the financing contract signing ceremony, held in the town on Friday.

The financing contract for the project, worth 120 million Euros was included in the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), and signed between the Recuperar Portugal mission structure and the Alto Alentejo Intermunicipal Community (CIMAA).

Overall, the project, developed by CIMAA, is expected to involve an investment of around 171 million Euros.

Considering that there is “a lot of work ahead”, the mayor Crato pointed out the need to conclude the “detailed studies and projects”  this year and to obtain, by the beginning of 2022, the Declaration of Environmental Impact.

After the start of the preparatory work and the launch of the public tender for the contract, the construction works for the Pisão dam will have to start “by 2023”, said Joaquim Diogo.

“By 2024, we have to achieve the resettlement of 60 of the population of the village” of Pisão, whose properties will be submerged by “the completion of the installation of the photovoltaic panels”, outlined the mayor.

The president of CIMAA and mayor of Ponte de Sor, Hugo Hilário, highlighted in his speech that this work is “very much desired and demanded” by the region, having been “immersed in timid advances for more than 50 years”.

“Today, we are turning the page ” and, with the signing of the financing contract for the Crato Multipurpose Hydraulic Use Project, “the construction of the dam is irreversible”, he stressed.

Friday’s ceremony was presided over by the Prime Minister, António Costa, and was attended by the ministers of Territorial Cohesion and Agriculture, Ana Abrunhosa and Maria do Céu Antunes, respectively.

Minister Ana Abrunhosa considered that this “is an example of a project designed for the future of this region”, which “will respond to the water, energy and agricultural challenges of the territory”.

The future dam also “will, we are sure, promote social and economic development and place this area on the path of competitiveness and cohesion”, she said.

Ana Abrunhosa warned that, without this project, the region “would face, in the very near future, serious problems of water scarcity”, which would “affect all investment opportunities”.

According to CIMAA, the future structure will “benefit around 110,000 people in the 15 municipalities” of the district of Portalegre and its “main objective is to guarantee the availability of water for urban consumption”.

Furthermore, it also aims to “reconfigure agricultural activity and create opportunities for new economic activities, namely in terms of agriculture, tourism and the energy sector”.

The project includes the construction of a 150 megawatt (MW) floating photovoltaic plant, whose investment, worth around 51 million Euros, is not included in the PRR.

Among other components, the project also consists of, in addition to the dam and the photovoltaic plant, a mini-hydro plant and irrigation structure channels for agriculture and a public water supply system.