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The construction of the dam or Alqueva's reservoir, on the river The Guadiana, in the Portuguese region of the Alentejo, has originated the major artificial lake of western Europe. The wall has a maximum approximate height of 90 meters, with a length of 450 meters. The water retention has originated the flood of approximately 25.000 hectares, spreading hcia the north approximately 80 kilometres, up to the place of Bridge Ajuda.

The length of his coasts, it adds that of the maritime littoral of the Portuguese nation. His principal purpose is it of giving water to a few thirsty lands, supplying of water the riverside populations and allowing in the future to create a network, which allows to water approximately 100.000 hectares of area. His hydroelectric power station, it produces approximately 380 MW/hora, being this another justification. Hereby they have turned into terms of interior littoral, municipalities that before were of extremely arid areas, as Portel, Alqueva, Amieira, Mourão, Moura, Reguengos de Monsaraz or Juromenha in Portugal and Olivenza or Cheles in Spain.

Parallel to the previous thing it tries to create a tourist and commercial infrastructure that stirs the riverside localities into action creating great number of working places in a traditionally depressed zone. For some environmental organizations, the construction of the reservoir has been an environmental disaster since there has been destroyed the vegetation of wide zones and the habitat of birds and mammals.

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The government luso has legislated, trying to foresee possible urban development problems, the creation of an Ecological National Reservation, which will limit the constructions and riverside buildings to 10 % of the perimeter of the reservoir, staying the rest in its natural state.

The landscape is the typical one of the mounts alentejano, where they alternate the olive groves with dense forests of oaks and blockheads splashed with the traditional converted to pasture surfaces, with presence of both sheep and bovine ranching.

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Portuguese companies have initiated the tourist exploitation of Alqueva's waters. A cruise of a few hours of duration, it furrows the lake taking the tourists for several Portuguese localities, dividing from the dam and other points. Shortly time, with the spring arrival these tours will be extended to Cheles's facilities, giving service to the Spanish visitor. In the Spanish shore Olivenza and Villareal, together with Cheles, they will offer similar services, at the same time as in the whole bank there are constructed sports ports provided with all he them structures that the fans of the science of navigation are necessary.

Also kitchen and all kinds of services is possible to rent in weekends perfectly equipped yachts, with several rooms, with the particularity of having such a simple and sure system of navigation, which only needs a few initial instructions, for those persons not accustomed to this type of activities.

Approximately 15 Spanish and Portuguese localities present projects of Cross-border Cooperation to the search of important investments of European funds that they contribute to the social and tourist dynamization of this zone.


 Antonio García Candelas      Suggestions and impressions