The Crato AHFM EIA clearly states that "the project will generate significant negative impacts, both in the construction and operation phases, with substantial impact on natural, heritage, ecological and socio-economic values, several of which are of some uniqueness and relevance (either conservationist or historical)", namely:
- change of current land uses to more artificial ones;
- significant reduction in annual carbon sequestration in the study area due to deforestation and deforestation caused by the Crato AHFM;
- possibility of contamination of soils and surface and groundwater through the use of pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural activities;
- alteration of the flow regime generated by the dam on the Ribeira de Seda, with a change in this Seda River, with a change in the flow regime from running to still water, and with an influence on the natural flow conditions towards the flow towards the estuary and the transport regime of fine materials carried by the current;
- affecting the flora (particularly the cork oak forest) and fauna (especially the bird community), namely in the areas intersected by the reservoir;
- conversion of rainfed agricultural areas to irrigated ones, which may lead to some reduction in biodiversity;
- flooding of the village of Pisão and consequent displacement of the resident population.
Analyzing the impacts identified in the EIA and the argumentation described throughout the document, we consider that:
- it is not clear the justification of the main purpose of the construction of the Pisão dam for public supply. The data presented suggest that the useful volume of the Póvoa e Meadas Dam is sufficient for public supply, considering the scenario of decreasing population in the regions concerned. According to these data, the construction of the dam for the purpose of public supply is not justified;
- the Crato AHFM project does not meet the environmental objectives, established in the DNSH principle of the MRR;
- the evaluation underlying the DNSH principle should imply an analysis of the project with Alternative Zero (maintenance of the existing situation). This comparative logic is not clear, or even sufficient, in the submitted EIA, so the evaluation criteria of the DNSH principle have not been met.
In light of the above, LPN believes that the Crato Multipurpose Hydraulic Development should have an unfavorable opinion from the Portuguese Environment Agency.
Read the report here (PT).
Lisbon, August 11, 2022