The research site in Portugal focuses on water systems from the lower Tagus transboundary river basin, which has pressures likely to be exacerbated by climate change. The site includes the Castelo do Bode reservoir in the Zêzere river basin; the Valada water intake, a few kilometres upstream the Tagus estuary and the Tagus river related aquifer systems that are intensively used, and which constitute a legal vulnerable zone, thus conditioning agriculture and groundwater abstraction.
More than 3 million inhabitants and extensive areas of agriculture are served by these water resources. Water supply, agriculture and hydropower compete for water uses in a scenario that combines a history of serious riverine and estuarine floods and droughts, and the potential for salt water intrusion from the Tagus estuary.
The region has a history of floods: February 1941; November 1967; February 1979; November 1983; February 2010 (e.g., estuarine margins flooding; damages in infrastructures; 500 million € damage). Examples of past droughts are 2004/05; 2012 (agriculture sector affected due to salt intrusion in the Lezíria of Vila Franca de Xira and measures were undertaken to route water from the Sorraia river to the Tagus river). The most relevant pressures on water quality are domestic sewage, agriculture, livestock activities, forest fires and industry.
Water supply companies and the agriculture sector, both at the national and regional level are participant end users in the project that need solutions in the near future. Major results to be obtained are the integration of groundwater, river and estuary modelling in different climatic and pressure scenarios, allowing the estimation of the impacts of climate change on the quantitative and chemical status of water bodies, including river banks’ inundation (both riverine and estuarine).
BINGO Partners from Portugal:
LNEC, SPI, EPAL, CIMLT, DGADR. Meet our Partners here.