Alentejo is one of the most under-developed regions in Portugal. With an area that makes up nearly a third of the country, and with a rich and diversified natural and cultural patrimony, it presents severe issues in terms of physical and human desertification.
The first reference to the need of a water reserve in the Guadiana River in the Alentejo region was made about one hundred years ago but it was only on February 8th, 2002 that the Alqueva dam gates were closed and the reservoir started to fill.
The dam has created the biggest artificial lake in Europe with an area of 250 km2 (35 km2 in Spain), while Alqueva’s irrigation plan includes 680 km of primary irrigation channels and 4400 km of secondary and tertiary irrigation channels.
The Alqueva Multipurpose Project, managed by EDIA (Empresa de Desenvolvimento e Infra-estruturas do Alqueva – Alqueva Development and Infrastructures Company) has several goals, including not only the setting up of a strategic water reserve in the Alentejo region and electricity production, but also changing the agricultural model in the region, the development of tourism, the combat against physical desertification and climate changes and the development of tourism.
EDIA is a company with an odd size and role in regional context, high awareness of the importance of sustainable development and a broad strategic thinking as well as a major scientific and technical center in the region. What you find bellow is an explanatory proposal for a survey that points towards the company’s best options in 21st century, as an answer to a challenge to propose a strategic vision for a sustainable development for the company, authored by Paulo Casaca, an economist by training and profession, accustomed to work in a multinational environment.