The Regional Government will invest 3.4 million euros in the recovery of 90 kilometers of levadas, which were blocked due to the storms at the end of last year.
“In total, we found that there were 90 kilometers of levadas obstructed by the intense precipitation that triggered landslides and the channels were so blocked that the water does not pass,” said the regional secretary for Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, stressing that “the irrigation infrastructures that have been affected have to be quickly recovered to guarantee irrigation from the end of May “.
Susana Prada went to São Vicente, together with the president of ARM and the president of the City Council, to visit the recovery works of the Levada dos Cardais, which is “five kilometers long, whose intervention will cost 160 thousand euros”.
This work, explained Susana Prada, “is part of a much larger undertaking that was launched following the storms of December and January 2020”, he stressed. The official mentioned that, due to these storms, obstructed waterways were detected “in five municipalities in the region, namely, São Vicente, Santana, Machico, Santa Cruz and Funchal”.
For this reason, he stressed, the Regional Government launched “a large undertaking, of 3.4 million euros, in the first place to unblock the channels and to make the water reach the agricultural land. Then, the reconstruction of channel sections and water catchment weirs’.
“For now, until the end of the month we are going to unblock the levadas, the water will reach the farmers”, he stressed, assuring that the objective is “to make sure that water reaches the farmers in the affected areas by June”.
The governor said that “in some cases, simultaneously”, the concrete works will be carried out, with the prospect that “before the end of the summer, the water catchments and support walls should be recovered.
But, it is “the clearing of the levadas that it is urgent to carry out for the farmers to be able to water”, underlined Susana Prada.
It is recalled that following the bad weather that occurred in the Region, on December 25, 2020, with the greatest impact on the North Coast, the public irrigation infrastructures associated with the various levadas located in the municipalities of São Vicente, Santana, Machico, Funchal and Santa Cruz, were strongly affected, with the destruction of sections of channel and essential conduits to guarantee agricultural irrigation.
In the particular case of the municipality of São Vicente, which was one of the most affected municipalities, the investment will be around 1.3 M €, for the recovery of the irrigation network in the three parishes, namely São vicente, Ponta Delgada and Boaventura.
The “turning period” in the Region usually starts in the month of May, so it was necessary to carry out a series of urgent works to clear and rebuild the entire irrigation network affected, in order to guarantee the irrigation of the areas covered by the canals, during the summer period ahead.
To this end, ARM launched a set of 17 projects in the most affected municipalities, which provide for the recovery of about 90 km of canals.