Municipality will enhance streams with climate change adaptation measures plan


The creation of retention basins, increasing the territory’s permeability and the re-naturalisation of blocked sections, are the main solutions pointed out by the Plan for the Valorisation and Rehabilitation of the Water Lines of the Municipality of Porto (PVRLA), presented on the day that the Parque Central da Asprela celebrated its second anniversary.

Despite making a diagnosis of the city’s rivers and streams, this document is intended to be a basis to be adopted in other areas of the country for the urban water lines climate change effects adaptation strategy. The plan was developed by Águas e Energia do Porto in partnership with Porto City Council, the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) and the Portuguese Environment Agency.

In this context, the Parque Central da Asprela, which completed two years of existence, was presented as a prime example of the ‘sponge city’ concept. Created in the university campus, besides improving the quality of life in the area from an environmental point of view, the intervention in the Asprela stream, which runs through the site, guarantees flood prevention by means of retention basins, which in this case can accommodate up to 10,000 m3 of water during heavy rainfall events.

Porto + Permeável

The increase in the frequency of extreme phenomena is one of the greatest risks posed to city rivers. By characterising, diagnosing and analysing the dangers and risks of the current situation, considering various climate scenarios, the plan indicates which rivers and streams are most vulnerable to climate change effects, highlighting that the worsening occurrence of floods, mainly associated with a period of intense precipitation in a short period of time, is one of the most impactful effects for the city of Porto.

‘It’s been 36 months of intense work to identify sensitive points and develop measures to mitigate climate change effects. The plan will now be followed by a wider project – Porto + Permeável (More Permeable Porto) – which will implement many of the measures presented’, the Deputy Mayor of Porto, Filipe Araújo, advanced.

The document points to the Vila river, the Poço das Patas, Cartes, Lomba and Massarelos stream as the water lines at the highest risk, as they present structural and climate vulnerabilities and a high number of flood events, while also being located in more urbanised areas, which could compromise the safety of people and property.

In order to solve these and other problems identified in this survey, the plan includes a programme of measures which identifies and prioritises actions and investments to mitigate and adapt to climate change effects.

The Plan for the Valorisation and Rehabilitation of the Water Lines of the Municipality of Porto aims to promote the protection and valorisation of the city’s rivers and streams, with a view to better adapting to climate change effects and reducing the territory’s vulnerability, constituting a local adaptation measure aligned with the Municipal Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation (EMAAC) of the Municipality of Porto. ‘We are building something that is a true legacy for future generations’, Filipe Araújo concluded.

The document was funded by the EEAGrants 2014-2021 programme, with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as donors, under the supervision of the Secretariat-General for the Environment and Climate Action (SGMAAC). The PVRLA aims to contribute to the implementation of objective number three of the programme: ‘Increasing resilience and responsiveness to climate change in specific areas’ and for Output 3.1 of the Programme, ‘Improved climate change adaptation at local level’.