Start date: 1998

Date of completion: 1999

Episode of environmental conflict: Lis River

At the beginning of September 1999, the Council of Ministers adopted a decree approving the start of a large-scale operation aimed at completely eliminating the Lis River basin by the year 2004. This involves the creation of a multimodal system for the basin, which involves the collection, treatment and disposal of effluents. To carry out this work was created the Integrated Sanitation of Lis Municipalities (SIMLIS). With a budget of 10 million contos, 85% of which is financed by the EU cohesion fund, the project stands out as a major undertaking. Among other aspects, the project involves the construction of 280,000 km of interceptors and emitters for the treatment of wastewater, as well as 14 Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs).

The decision taken last September is the end of an intense debate over the past few decades around the problems of the basin, particularly as regards the extreme pollution situation that affects both the water resources and the ecosystems they are part of . However, the culmination of this stage can not be taken for granted, since the present and future problems are extremely complex. In particular, full management of the basin should address the unresolved conflict between
interests of the various water users that coincide in this relatively small space but which are densely in terms of pressure on water resources. On the other hand, the difficulties in the institutional sphere, especially in relation to the application and control of environmental forms of regulation, are another significant obstacle to the success of the announced project.

The project and the consequent study are a summary of the state of the problem to be addressed in the Lis river basin, including a description of the main aspects of the social and political conflict that led to the adoption of the brief analysis of the project’s chances of success in the short term.


Associated Publications:

Factores Sociais no Insucesso da Despoluição da Bacia Hidrográfica do Rio Lis

“Façam o Milagre!”. Poluição, media e protesto ambiental na bacia do Lis (Slides)

“Façam o Milagre!”. Poluição, media e protesto ambiental na bacia do Lis (Communications)

Saneamento básico. Factores sociais no insucesso de uma política adiada. O caso do Lis  (Thesis)