The implementation phase of the new infrastructure will create employment opportunities for equivalent of 6,600 persons. In addition, the project will generate agri-business related jobs equivalent to 6,450 persons per year during operation.
The project is aimed at fostering economic development in rural areas and increasing resilience to the effects of climate change, in particular drought.
The loans provided by the EIB (€200 million) and the CEB (€80 80 million) will finance projects designed to expand and modernise existing irrigation areas and to renovate infrastructure through the construction and rehabilitation of water intakes, pumping stations, collectors and other irrigation equipment.
Portuguese agriculture is expected to benefit significantly from the EIB and CEB co-financed project. The use of new irrigation technologies will reduce the dependence on rainfall and exposure to climate variability, thereby promoting the development and resilience of rural economies.
The expansion of irrigated areas will also enable the increase and diversification of agricultural production, facilitating the production of olives, maize and wine. Off-farm infrastructure will also be updated with modern, automated and smart cropping control systems.
The investments will contribute to water savings, reducing water losses by an estimated 35 million cubic metres. They will also increase the energy efficiency of water pumping: the new and rehabilitated water infrastructure will mostly consume energy generated internally from water impulsion.
Commenting on the signing, Portuguese Finance Minister Mário Centeno said:
“As policymakers, we have the responsibility to deploy the most efficient financial instruments available to support quality investments which will yield social and economic dividends in the future. By investing in viable irrigation structures we are not only improving the management of a scarce resource such as water and fighting the effects of climate change, including desertification, but also generating economic opportunities.”