SOWAMO - Sowing Water in the Monchique Mountain

Project facts

Project promoter:
TARH - Earth, Environment and Water Resources
Project Number:
Target groups
Researchers or scientists
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 146,819
The project is carried out in:


i.The Project will address priorities for adaptation within the sectors Water Resources, Agriculture and Forests, and Biodiversity. ii. Increased capacity to assess vulnerability to climate change. iii. Indicators (targets): a) Number of sectors with improved capacity to assess vulnerability to climate change (3); b) Number of sectoral projects supported through AdaPT (1). iv. a) Project website; b) Instrumentation of hydraulic structures; c) Conceptual hydrogeological modelling; d) Preliminary numeric modelling; e) Ecological status baseline; f) Water quality baseline; g) Recharging structure final project; h) Hydraulic structures progress report; i) Hydraulic structures monitoring; j) Impact assessment on water abstraction; k) Numeric model calibration; l) Impact assessment at ecological level; m) Impact assessment on the water quality; n) Impact assessment on forest protection; o) Dissemination report.

Summary of project results

SOWAMO project was developed in the Monchique Mountains, in the interior of Algarve Region. It’s a region prone to forest fires and desertification, where the population gets its water supply from groundwater, with a system constituted mostly by horizontal wells and galleries/springs, extremely vulnerable to meteorological variability. This system is already very cost-effective due to low energy needs and residual costs for water treatment. Almost every year, management faces surpluses during periods of high rainfall and lack of water during drought due to increased demand and lower available flows. It is anticipated that this situation may be aggravated by changes in the precipitation regime, with the occurrence of long periods without rain, which may lead to problems in the normal functioning of the public supply. The main objective of this project is to increase the resilience of this system, seeking to improve security of supply by developing an aquifer-induced recharge system, one of the tools of water management that has been increasingly studied and applied. The project effectively implemented an artificial recharge system on the ground, based on canals and trenches taking advantage of surface water surpluses. The main guidelines of the system were the fully gravitational operation and the easy maintenance of the structures. In-depth studies have been developed on the hydrogeological system of the target wells and galleries, in order to design a technical solution with clear hydrogeological valences in the exploration of the resource. This venture is a pilot project on a small scale. The aim was to verify the benefits that the implementation of MAR structures contribute to water resources, biodiversity and forests, as well as their economic viability for replication in other localities with the possibility of exploring similar supply systems, very common in the Iberian mountain regions. The results suggest that induced recharge can effectively mitigate the impacts of climate change impacts in an economically sustainable way, although it should be complemented with other measures (e.g. water efficiency). In the case of the project, it is expected to improve drainage flow rates of around 30%. The impacts on biology and ecosystems can be positive as long as some management is carried out.

Summary of bilateral results

NIBIO worked on the results obtained from field research to understand the interaction of the project with ecosystem services. Identified and systematized project impacts, focusing on forest protection and changes in soil and biomass. In September 2016 organized an intermediate workshop in Ås (Norway).