€70 million of investment already made in the Alentejo region

Since 2010, the year it launched its activities, AgdA – Águas Públicas do Alentejo has already made investments totalling €70 million in improvements to the water supply and wastewater treatment services to the populations in the 20 municipalities that form SPPIAAlentejo – the Integrated Public Partnership System of Águas do Alentejo.

AgdA operates over an extensive territorial area corresponding to 17% of mainland Portugal, characterised by dispersed population settlements, a shortage of hydric resources, the poor quality of subterranean water in the Baixo Alentejo zone and the lack of wastewater treatment plants for the majority of urban areas.

In the water supply sector, accounting for over half of the investment undertaken (€41.5 million), strengthening the treatment of water in the existing system was the company’s core priority implemented whilst simultaneously designing the new supply system based upon more reliable sources in terms of both quantity and quality, with more robust treatment installations coupled with a greater treated water storage capacity as is the case with the Monte da Rocha water treatment plant inaugurated this week.

Located in the council of Ourique, the Monte da Rocha treatment plant was subject to expansion and restructuring work enabling a doubling of its existing treatment capacity while also improving the respective process of treatment to supply not only the host municipality but also those of Castro Verde and Almodôvar and as well as parts of the municipalities of Odemira and Mértola.

There is also ongoing improvement work at the Roxo treatment plant with the installation of two new treatment phases that shall enable the more efficient oxidation of organic materials and absorbing the undesirable smells and odours that have hitherto been registered in the summer season and affecting the populations of Beja and Aljustrel.

In the field of wastewater treatment, investment has totalled €28.5 million with highly significant impacts both for the local populations and for compliance with national and European environmental standards: for example, upgrading the 18 wastewater treatment plants that were the subject of EU legal processes due to their non-compliance with the Urban Wastewaters Directive.

In the wastewater treatment component, key steps include the recent conclusion of the Alcácer do Sal wastewater treatment plant and its respective interceptor system for the appropriate treatment of all effluents produced by the population and hence contributing to raising the water quality in the river Sado.

The interceptor system integrates three lifting stations and 5.4 kilometres of collectors that transport wastewaters from the southern side of the city to the new treatment plant located to the north with overall investment amounting to €4.2 million.
In Ourique, work has already been completed on a new wastewater treatment plant (WTP) equipped with a unit for both pre-treating and balancing the effluents arriving from septic tanks and with a capacity to serve a population of 1,700 equivalent inhabitants following investment of €1.3 million.

Currently under construction is the new Beja WTP representing investment in the region of five million euros. This new infrastructure, with a daily treatment capacity of five thousand cubic metres of effluents and deploying the best available technologies for the treatment of urban wastewaters, will serve the entire city of Beja and enable the deactivation of two WTPs that, due both to their technologies and scale, no longer prove able to appropriately treat the effluents produced. In this way, the new Beja WTP will also contribute towards improving the quality of the fluvial ecosystem of the Albufeira do Roxo hydrographic basin, which also proves the main source for the water supply of the city of Beja.

The Amareleja WTP, located in the Municipality of Moura, is also currently undergoing refurbishment. The project, with its tender launched in May, spans the rehabilitation of the WTP’s existing biological treatment processes to thus guarantee the appropriate disposal of the wastewaters produced by the approximately 2,500 local inhabitants.

The majority of these investments count upon European co-financing through the POVT – Operation Plan for Territorial Valuation Program, under the auspices of QREN, at a rate in excess of 60%.

Over the next five years (2016-2020), AgdA plans to invest around €108 million in various municipalities with €72.8 million targeting the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructures dedicated to the supply of drinking water and €34.8 million applied to wastewater treatment processes.

AgdA derives from a partnership between public entities – the state and municipalities – that share common objectives as regards water services: for example, guaranteeing universal service provision, with quality and reliability to the population as well as protecting environmental standards and fostering regional economic development.

This represents a partnership attributed to the Águas de Portugal Group and the Alentejo Association of Municipalities for the Public Management of Water and that AgdA puts into practice in the terrain with quality and with an excellent team providing a fine example of how the combining of efforts and the leveraging of synergies brings about good results.

20 of July of 2016