Dams Groundwater Modelling And Water Management At The Regional Scale In A Coastal Mediterranean Area (The Southern Portugal Region - Algarve)

Actual water demand in the Southern Portuguese coastal area (Algarve ≈
5400km2) is in the order of 250×106m3/year, distributed by agriculture (72%),
gardening (8%) and public supply (20%). This value rose dramatically in the
last 30 years, mainly due the increase of irrigated area (about 200 km2) and
tourism (about 10×106 visitors per year with an average sojourn of about 10
Until very recently water use in the Algarve region was almost entirely
supported by groundwater wells. However, the policy defined by the Portuguese
central administration consists actually in the development of public water
supply schemes entirely based in the use of dam waters. The efforts to abandon
groundwater as a source for public supply started in 1999, after a large
investment in infrastructures related with the exploitation of the Bravura,
Funcho, Odeleite, Beliche dams (and the Odelouca dam, which is not yet in
operation). However the practical implementation of the water supply scheme
showed from the start that the complete abandon of the water wells is very
difficult due to quantitative, qualitative and practical problems related with the
management of surface waters.

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