Pisão Dam is ready in 2026 (and “demonstrates well what the PRR intends to be”)

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Mario Cruz / Lusa

The construction works of the Pisão dam, in the municipality of Crato, district of Portalegre, whose financing contract was signed this Friday, will start until 2023 for the project to go into “full operation” in 2026.

“We hope that, in 2026, the Pisão dam and the hydraulic use”, stated the mayor of Crato, Joaquim Diogo, at the ceremony for signing the financing contract, held in this town.

The financing contract, in the amount of 120 million euros for the project registered in the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), was signed between the Recuperar Portugal mission structure and the Alto Alentejo Intermunicipal Community (CIMAA).

Overall, the project, developed by CIMAA, is expected to involve an investment of 171 million euros.

Considering that there is “a lot of work ahead”, the mayor of the municipality of Crato pointed out the need to conclude this year the “detailed studies and projects” and to obtain, by the beginning of 2022, the Declaration of Environmental Impact.

After the start of the preparatory work and the launch of the public tender for the contract, the construction works of the dam will have to start “until 2023”, said Joaquim Diogo.

“By 2024, we have to achieve the resettlement of the population of the village” of Pisão, with about 60 people, which will be submerged, “and the completion of the installation of the photovoltaic panels”, also outlined the mayor.

The president of CIMAA and mayor of Ponte de Sor, Hugo Hilário, highlighted in his speech that this work is “very longed for and claimed” around the region, having been “for more than 50 years immersed in timid advances”.

“Today, we are turning the page of all suspicions” and, with the signing of the financing contract for the Crato Multipurpose Hydraulic Use Project, “the construction of the dam is irreversible”, he stressed.

“It demonstrates well what the PRR intends to be”

Today’s ceremony was presided over by the Prime Minister, António Costa, and was attended by the ministers of Territorial Cohesion and Agriculture, Ana Abrunhosa and Maria do Céu Antunes, respectively.

“This project is truly symbolic of the transforming potential and the transforming ambition and the will to improve and increase the growth potential of our country that the PRR holds”, he emphasized.

“This project demonstrates well what the PRR intends to be. A transforming project for our country, which does not limit itself to doing more of the same, but, on the contrary, allows us to transform regions, economic sectors and the growth potential of our country”, he said.

Costa stressed that the dam “will have a major transforming impact on the region’s economy” and will allow Alto Alentejo “to develop new activities that generate employment and income that will attract and settle populations”.

“O PRR is an integral puzzle piece about the vision we have about all the regions we designate as interior and which I prefer to designate as peninsular centrality”, insisted the head of Government.

Addressing “those who look at the PRR with fatalistic skepticism”, considering that the country will “waste the opportunity”, the prime minister gave as an example this project to counter this idea.

“You can look at this project as a project that has, from the outset, the enormous potential economical transformer of this region, but which also responds to other fundamental needs”, such as combating climate change, supplying populations, irrigation and electricity production, among others, he said.

António Costa noted that the project will be “executed” by the Intermunicipal Community of Alto Alentejo (CIMAA), after “determination of persistence and insistence on negotiations” by the region’s mayors.

“It is also the demonstration that the PRR it’s not something designed in Lisbon to be performed by Central Administration for the benefit of Central Administration. The beneficiaries will be the populations and the whole of this region. The idea arose not in Lisbon, but in the region and it is precisely the inter-municipal community who will carry it out”, he added.

The head of Government warned the promoters that “the clock is already ticking” for the execution of the project, recalling that the PRR “only pays commitments made until 2023 and expenses incurred until December 31, 2026”.

“So, let’s not wait for the 70th anniversary of the idea. As there is no time to waste, let’s get to work”, he added.

The project includes the construction of a floating photovoltaic plant, 150 megawatts (MW), whose investment, worth around 51 million euros, is not registered in the PRR.

Among other components, in addition to the dam and the photovoltaic plant, a mini-hydro plant and irrigation structure channels for agriculture and the public water supply system are also contemplated in the project.