Starptautiskās jauniešu iniciatīvas “RIVER reMEMBERS” ietvaros, grupiņa portugāļu jauniešu no vides organizācijas “OPE” pētīja upju aizdambēšanas problēmas Portugālē. Situācijas raksturojums turpinājumā.

Salīdzinājumā ar Latvijas HESiem, Portugālē aina ir vēl drūmāka – upju ielejās tikuši appludināti veseli ciemi, tādējādi zaudējot gan kultūras, gan dabas vērtības. Piemēram, Homem (Rio Homem) dambja Vilarinho das Furnas būvniecības rezultātā 1972.gadā tika appludināts ciems, kurš dibināts ap m.ē. 70.gadu. Tā rezultātā mājvietas zaudēja visi aptuveni 300 ciema iedzīvotāji un neatgriezeniski tika zaudētas upes ielejas dabas un kultūras vērtības. Daudzos gadījumos pilnībā tiek bloķēts ūdens tecējums (bieži neatstājot ekoloģisko caurplūdi) – piemēram, upe tiek “ievadīta trubā” vairāk kā 100 m pazemē un saražojusi elektrību tā atgriežas savā gultnē tikai pēc 7 km pazemes tecējuma. Pie šādiem apstākļiem dabas organismu apmaiņa dambja augšpusē un apakšā nav pat iespējama. Uzņēmuma pārstāvji gan skaidroja, ka citās modernākās hidroelektrostacijās zivis tiekot ar liftu paceltas 60 m augstumā (starpība starp upes līmeņiem), lai tās varētu migrēt (līdz nākamajam dambim).

A river in its natural flow is an increasingly rare phenomenon at a time of intense utilization of water resources, being the mirror of the valley along which it has his bed (Fernandes, 1989).
The construction of dams is an ancient art, that firstly aimed to storing water and irrigation. Recently the possibility of production of electricity was introduced. The impacts of a project of this kind change the surrounding area, in different fields, with, obviously, advantages and disadvantages to its population.


In Portugal, the dam history started in 1894 when the first hydroeletric facility was built – Central de Biel, held at Rio Corgo by the Industrial and Electric Company of Vila Real (waterfall: 25m, flow rate: 645 L/s, power: 160 horse power). After that, in 1895/1896 was built the Central de Furada held at Rio Cávado by the Northern Electricity Company of Portugal (waterfall: 4 m, 3 turbines, power: 125 hp). First hydroelectric power plant in the Azores, known as Central da Vila was built in 1899. Only in 1906 to 1930, Portugal started the Development of hydroelectric power plants with power superior to 100 kW.
The big boost for the electricity sector in Portugal emerged in the 1940s, setting out the main lines of the country’s electrification. It was in this context that, from the 1950s, was carried out construction of large enterprises hydro and electrical term, particularly in Vilarinho da Furna, Picocte, Miranda do Douro, Bemposta and finally in Alqueva, with the sinking of the village “Aldeia da Luz”.
Vilarinho da Furna was one of the last and most typical community village in Europe, until the construction of a dam ended its existence in the early seventies. But part of their heritage, made up of historical-cultural and socio-economic components, managed to survive. It is this heritage that their former inhabitants, though dispersed through the world’s matches, propose safeguarding and enhancement.


Since the 80’s to the present has witnessed the continued construction of large hydropowers, though with an exponential increase in the value of public opinion and legislative integration of Environmental Impact Studies.
Contrary to what happened in Vilarinho, replacing the old village “Aldeia da Luz”, submerged by the Alqueva Dam, a new town was built. But the adaptation to the new surroundings, as well as maintenance or loss of collective identity of the inhabitants of “Aldeia da Luz”, is of great impact to the extent that it was a state levy.


On the other hand, the case of the International Douro river is a sui generis situation. To some extent is the antithesis of Vilarinho Furna and the “Aldeia da Luz”. The construction of the dam Picote, Miranda do Douro and Bemposta did not imply the submergence of villages and did not involve their relocation and also had no direct impact on communities. As support for the construction of these dams, it was built a number of community facilities. Currently, part of this heritage is doomed to abandonment. In the neighborhoods of the workers, the houses were recently sold to outsiders or are occupied by former employees, now retired.
The analysis of these cases, it seems that the development based on the construction of dams in the last fifty years, is only a glimpse to the affected populations.
Nowadays the scenario is quite different, as you can see:
• Nº of dams (power plants + small-hydro) existing: 207
• Electric Power installed: 8128,49 MW
• Electricity production: only 50% of the hydroelectric potential it’s being explored.
• Dams being constructed: Baixo Sabor (Rio Sabor), Ribeiradio – Ermida (Rio Vouga), Foz do Tua (Rio Tua).
• Dams waiting for licensing to construction: Barragem do Fridão (Rio Tâmega).
And if we are to realize the Portuguese electricity production situation:
• Production of annual electricity from renewable energy sources: 29562 GWh
• Annual electricity production from hydropower: 14640 GWh
• Weight of hydropower production to total renewable energy production: 48,9%

In the map, the distribution of dams in Portugal is as follows:
Douro Litoral, Minho e Trás-os-Montes


• Nº of dams: 61
• Nº of small-hydrics: 7
• Electric power installed: 6971,15 MW
• Annual electricity production: 9436,51 GWh

Beira Litoral, Beira Alta e Beira Baixa


• Nº of dams: 47
• Nº of small-hydrics: 3
• Electric power installed: 917,34MW
• Annual electricity production: 1872,9 GWh

Estremadura, Ribatejo e Alto Alentejo


• Nº of dams: 68
• Nº of small-hydrics: 1
• Electric power installed: 240 MW
• Annual electricity production: 345,7 GWh

Baixo Alentejo e Algarve


• Nº of dams: 20
• Annual electricity production: 4,25 GWh

Study cases have been implemented along different dams and its surrounding areas, allowing us to better understand the real impacts of building and exploring dams in different scenarios.
The Castelo de Bode dam it is one of the largest hydroelectric projects in the country. As already mentioned, its construction came in the context of increasing reliance on thermal power in the country and the potential hydropower provided by the district. Is located in the Zêzere River basin, has the municipalities limits Santarém, Tomar and Abrantes, and its construction period lasted between 1945-1951.


A socioeconomic characterization have been developed in 2009, showing that the surrounding area of the reservoir is a rural, economic and socially undeveloped, with low the quality of life. As all rural areas of the country, its characteristics are a result of the rural exodus of the past 50 years with no visible endogenous development, or even the potential use of physical or economic conditions generated by the reservoir proximity. There have not been therefore observable any local benefits, for example, the greater availability of water for irrigation, or greater electrification provided by the proximity of power generation, which would have benefited the primary and secondary sector. However, the weight reduction of the primary sector and the secondary low magnification show that the dam was not sufficient to minimize its reduction.
The Alto Rabagão dam is one of the country’s largest and appeared in the slowdown in construction of hydroelectric projects of the 50s. Its construction began in 1958 and was to end in 1964. This is the first hydroelectric plant in the country with the primary purpose of inter-regulation, which consists of water storage in wet years and its use in energy production, in dry years, since its main function is to generate electricity. Its reservoir, located in the upper reaches of the river Rabagão forms a rectangle 4 km wide and almost 20 km long (following the selection criteria of dams with larger reservoirs).


The same study showed that, once again, the polarization of the inability of Alto Rabagão dam reservoir, insufficient to secure the region’s inhabitants and attract new inhabitants. The beneficial effects of the dam are not then materialized by the indicators analyzed in this chapter, showing a depressed region with respect to the socio-economy and quality of life.
The Alto Lindoso dam is located in the basin of the River Lima and inserts himself totally in the area of the Peneda-Geres National Park, a few hundred from the Spanish border. The project began in 1983 and it was concluded in 1992 with the primary purpose of producing electricity and is currently the most powerful hydroelectric central Portugal, while also acting as a regulator of the flow volume of the river Lima in conjunction with dam Touvedo. Thus, its reservoir has a flooded area in full storage level of 1072 hectares. Also for this dam, a socioeconomic analysis, it’s verfied a similar scenario to the other presented dams.
The National Programme for Dams with High Hydropower Potential appeared in 2007 in the context of the Government’s intention to reduce energy dependence on other countries. Given that Portugal is one of the EU countries with the largest unexploited hydro potential, the Government proposed to increase by about 40% hydropower installed capacity to 7000 MW by 2020. It’s not the benefits that can result from the implementation of hydroelectric, like the increased use of renewable resources, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, less dependence on foreign energy resources, among others, that are being concerned, but the promises and declarations made without any solid foundations. On the other hand, the creation of employment opportunities also proves to be of any false expectations, when we consider the reality of case studies shown.
The construction of dams means changing the landscape, so the walls mold and contribute to a horizon modification process. However, this reconciliation of architecture and engineering, has meant that there was an effort to make the dams’ as an integral part “of the landscape and the dams acquired a meaning of power and also an element that would rebuild the landscape, although forgetting that many other natural elements would suffer from this process of recreating a preserved landscape.

Projekts “RIVER reMEMBERS” ir starptautiska jauniešu iniciatīva, kas tapusi “BALTA DABA” (Latvija) un “OPE” (Portugāle) jauniešu vides organizāciju sadarbībā. Projekta mērķis ir veicināt jauniešu aktīvu pilsonisko līdzdalību Eiropas upju aizsardzībā. Projekta galvenie uzdevumi ir nodrošināt pieredzes apmaiņu starp organizācijām par metodēm, kā efektīvi iesaistīt jauniešus upju aizsardzības aktivitāšu organizēšanā un realizēšanā; rast inovatīvas pieejas darbam ar jauniešiem upju aizsardzības projektos; veicināt jauniešu pētnieciskās un organizatoriskās prasmes un veicināt jauniešu izpratni par upju ekosistēmu aizsardzības nozīmību. Projekta ietvaros 10 jaunieši (5 katrā valstī) vecumā no 18-30 gadiem veic pētījumu par upju aizdambēšanas problemātiku, organizē vietējiem jauniešiem nodarbības, kas saistītas ar upju aizsardzību, organizē diskusijas, kā arī apkopo metodes un izstrādā ceļvedi par to, kā efektīvi un radoši jauniešus iesaistīt upju aizsardzības aktivitātēs. Projekta ietvaros abas grupas tiksies savā starpā, lai dalītos gūtajā pieredzē. Projekts norisinās paralēli Latvijā un Portugālē laika posmā no 2014.gada 1.oktobra līdz 2015.gada 1.decembrim.

Šis projekts tiek finansēts ar Eiropas Komisijas atbalstu. Šis paziņojums atspoguļo vienīgi autora uzskatus, un Komisijai nevar uzlikt atbildību par tajā ietvertās informācijas jebkuru iespējamo izlietojumu.

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