The Alqueva Multi-purpose Undertaking (EFMA) has direct influence in the municipalities covered by the Alqueva Reservoir and those that benefit from the new irrigation perimeters or are served by the public mains.
The EFMA is centred on the Alqueva Dam, the largest strategic water reserve in Europe.
It is from here that other dams interconnect to guarantee a water supply even in periods of extreme drought to an area of around 10,000 km2, in a total of 20 municipalities in the districts of Beja, Évora, Portalegre and Setúbal.
The Alqueva Reservoir is the largest artificial lake in Europe and extends for 83 km to the municipalities of Moura, Portel, Mourão, Reguengos de Monsaraz and Alandroal, occupying an area of 250 km2. The Alqueva reservoir's total storage capacity is 4.15 billion m3, 3.15 billion of which is its usable volume under normal operation.
Alentejo accounts for about 1/3 of the area of mainland Portugal. It is a sparsely populated region, with only 5% of the population and high levels of human desertification and ageing. The GDP per capita is the region is below the national average. The region also has very low rainfall.
The shortage of rainfall has been one of the main limitations on the region’s development and has stood in the way of the modernisation of agriculture and sustainability of the public water mains.
Alqueva's direct catchment area covers around 10,000 km2 in 20 municipalities in the districts of Beja, Évora, Setúbal and Portalegre. This makes the project a structural instrument that gives rise to a diversified, sustained series of activities in a process of sustained integration.