Vila Real de Santo António (VRSA) mayor has revealed the regional development office’s (CCDR) intention to dredge the Guadiana River, making it navigable for larger ships up to Alcoutim.
CCDR President David Santos announced the intention last week during the signing ceremony for a protocol to create Ayamonte (Spain) – Vila Real de Santo António Eurocity, which aims to “strengthen institutional, cultural, sports and economic relations between the two border municipalities.”
In a statement, VRSA Mayor, Luís Gomes described the project, which includes the dredging of the river and other interventions along it as “an old aim of the town hall that satisfies many businesspeople from the lower Guadiana area.”
“Few countries have a river in common with the characteristics of the Guadiana, and as such we cannot abandon this resource. This announcement made by the CCDR is one of the big commitments for 2013 for the development of the Algarve and a sign of the agreement between the two border regions,” said Mayor Gomes.
David Santos, who is also currently the Algarve-Alentejo-Andalucia Euroregion President, told Lusa News Agency that he hopes to soon sit at a table with both the Portuguese and Spanish authorities to reach an agreement on environmental terms.
“We have two candidacies approved, one relating to the dredging of the mouth of the river, and the other relating to the dredging of the main body of the river. We would have liked it to go as far as Pomarão (Mértola) but there are environmental difficulties in getting there, but we understand that we can get as far as Alcoutim without any problems” he said.
David Santos said that as it is an international river, approval for the project does not only depend on the Portuguese authorities or on the Spanish authorities and it has been this that has systematically blocked the plans proposed by VRSA, Castro Marim and Alcoutim.
“What we have to do is unite the authorities of the two countries together and for the commission to say that it is approved. This is what no one has been able to do until today, but I have to do is because I took on the commitment, and it is ridiculous to have candidacies approved, funds available and still not to be able to do it because of a lack of environmental approval from both sides,” he added.
According to Mr. Santos, the dredging work could start as early as April.
Source: theportugalnews, January 18, 2013