Alqueva Multi-Purpose Project in Alentejo region in the Guadiana River is based on a large dam (4150 hm3) and a complex network of irrigation channels and a hydropower plant. Pre-existing cereal steppes have been converted to permanent crops (olive groves, vineyards, and almond orchards) under highly intensive irrigated regimes. These practices exacerbate the global trend of biodiversity and ecosystem loss by increasing soil erosion, water salinization and by using pesticides and herbicides.
Portugal is the only DP focusing on the ecosystem component of the WEFe nexus. In three farms served by the Alqueva Multi-Purpose Project, nature-based solutions (NBS) will be implemented via the natural restoration of selected agricultural fields. Three types of NBS will be demonstrated: restoration of water lines, ponds and placement of grass covers on agricultural fields using native plants.
The NEXUS focus for this DP will be exploiting NBS as a technology to increase farmland climate resilience, promote healthy soil, water retention and quality while activating ecosystem functions that provide valuable services like pest suppression, pollination, and nutrient fixation.