With Action C2, the project seeks the creation of a separate pilot urban water distribution system that satisfies the watering needs of green urban areas, allowing for adaptation to climatic droughts, while simultaneously recovering the historical functions of a classified monument - the Água de Prata aqueduct -, without compromising its conservation value and heritage classification.
Despite its technical/engineering design is based on established hydraulic practices, such system has never been set to practice in Portugal and, to our knowledge, in any other EU countries facing scarcity problems could also make use of historical aqueducts to face the needs of water and adapting urban irrigation to climate change.
While clearly contributing for adaptation (to face scarcity of surface water resulting from reduced precipitation), works of action C2 tackle a common and wide problem in Europe, i.e. how to harmonize adaptation needs with urban and historical heritage. This was e.g. highlighted by the EEA on its report on Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016: “In Europe, most cities have origins in the Middle Ages. The resulting physical structures often limit the options for adapting to current needs and future changes, particularly if they are to maintain valuable heritage at the same time. Some of the current adaptation needs stem from unsuitable and inflexible infrastructures that are almost impossible to change”.
With the proposed pilot works, while adapting to the predicted surface water scarcity, Évora will be simultaneously preserving and rehabilitating functions of an historical monument, showing that it is possible to overcome this apparent paradigm.