It is the time of year when the wildflowers overtake the hill. Yellows, purples and green intermingle with red and orange. I have just been sitting among the flowers, thinking about this post. The theme is supposed to be fracking. It’s an unpleasant word with destructive consequences. I do not want to write about it, but I will mention what is going on, as fracking in the Algarve could potentially wipe out the abundance of natural beauty.
Against all sense and without the agreement of a single Mayor in the Algarve, concession licences have been handed out. This may lead to exploration.
Exploration requires the drilling of small numbers of wells (usually vertical) to obtain core samples of the target rock formation. The location of these wells may be influenced by conducting seismic surveys or acquiring seismic data to determine where to drill.
Transition Tavira and other Transition groups across the Algarve are sharing information and campaigning to try to stop exploration, not least because this region is located a few hundred kilometres north of the crossing of the E–W Eurasia–Africa plate boundary and is characterised by a moderate seismicity – that could result in earthquakes.
You can see on the ASMAA website a map outlining the current concessions.
The Mayors are challenging the licences handed out by the Portuguese Government.
What bothers me the most is the possibility of contamination of the fragile water system. We live on a water table. The winter rains feed the wells and the bore holes.
We went onto town water earlier this year because our bore hole dried up. Quite a few of our neighbour’s bore holes also went dry.
Some water has returned to our bore hole during winter. How long the water will last will partly depend on how many more orange, lemon, and lime groves (owned by a Spanish consortium) are allowed to appear. The owners receive funding to bore down to great depths to extract the limited water to nourish the imported trees, having ripped out olive and carobs. They plant and then spray.
All this makes me appreciate even more the cascade of willing wildflowers that push through the poor soil, demanding no water.