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Sustainable Water Platform advances with complaint to the Public Ministry against approval of the desalination plant in the Algarve

The Sustainable Water Platform (PAS), which brings together a dozen environmental and civil society associations and movements, moved forward on July 4th with “a judicial effort to obtain a declaration of invalidity of the environmental impact statement (DIA)†of the desalination plant, with the Public Ministry of Faro. The information was released this Tuesday in a statement by the complainants.

PAS argues that the DIA, issued on April 3 by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), “infringes several national legal diplomas†, such as the basic law of environmental policy, the legal regime of the National Ecological Reserve and the right to public participation; as well as European directives related to habitats, water, marine strategy and bathing waters. “Our analysis results in the observation that there is a succession of violations of national and European legal regimes,†NÃdia Braz tells Expresso, from CIVIS-Association for the Deepening of Citizenship.

This is one of the organizations that make up PAS. The others are Rocha Portugal, Ãgua é Vida, AlBio- Algarve Agroecological Association, Almargem-Association for the Defense of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Algarve, CIVIS-Associação para o Deepening Citizenship, Ecotopia-Environmental and Sustainable Development Association, FALA-Fórum do Ambiente do Litoral Alentejano, Faro 1540–Association for the Defense and Promotion of Heritage Environmental and Cultural of Faro, Glocal Faro, LPN-Liga for the Protection of Nature, Probaal-Association for the Barrocal Algarvio.

The complainants want the Public Ministry to “activate the necessary legal means with a view to declaring the issued DIA invalid†. They further argue that “the fact that essential information of crucial importance was not presented and analyzed” and there is an extensive list of conditions expressed in the DIA, “does not allow a legal basis to transfer the approval only to headquarters of Environmental Compliance Report of the Execution Project (RECAP).

Court case against desalination plant

The desalination plant planned for the Algarve, whose pipes will pass under Falesia beach, is also the target of a DIA “conditional favorable†challenge process, delivered to the Administrative Court of Loulé last week. How the Expresso reported In the July 5th edition, Seacliff – Compra e Venda de Imóveis, the company that owns the land where Ãguas do Algarve wants to build the desalination plant, advanced the 3rd of July with the action considering that “this project is harmful to the entire region and is based on the lie that it will solve the Algarve’s water problems†.

Among the arguments, they point out “risks of emergency discharge in Ribeira de Quarteira due to malfunction of the Albufeira WWTP; possible rupture of pipelines that collect sea water; and impacts on the Marine Park da Pedra do Valado and the Ria Formosa Natural Park”, which they consider to be “poorly studied”.

The project’s environmental impact study identified the risk of collision and entrainment of marine organisms in the intake of sea water; the creation of instability in the cliff that is crossed by the brine discharge pipeline and the affectation of species and habitats.

The desalination plant is projected to produce 16 hm3 of water per year, in the first phase, reaching 24 hm3/year. It should be operational in 2026, however, the expropriation of the land has not yet been completed (and is contested). And, according to several sources heard by Expresso, the 90 million planned investment (half of the PRR) will not arrive, as an increase in costs is expected. If it is not completed by the end of 2026, it could lose the PRR funding, and it will no longer have a valid title if there is no work by April 2028.

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Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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