Rio Arade: Percurso das Fontes

Leading agency: QRER – Cooperativa para o desenvolvimento dos territórios de baixa densidade
Area(s) of intervention: Silves
Total budget: € 7.486
NOPLANETB contribution: € 7.486
Duration: 9 months
Starting date: 1st of May 2019

Summary of the project

The QRER – Cooperative for the Development of Low Density Territories learned from tradition that “the worst blind is the one who does not want to see”. The saying applies to many realities and with special emphasis on the countryside, where we are continually facing abandonment, land degradation and high levels of fire risk due to the lack of management of our forests and deterioration of heritage and landscape.
These factors bring safety consequences, affect the preservation of the rivers and the quality of fresh water available, since it is usually in the highlands that the main and secondary tributaries are located, with the environmental conservation and sensitization measures being more frequently involved.
Our project focuses on a section of the Odelouca stream, the main tributary of the largest water course in the Algarve – the Arade River.
The section, located in the middle of the Serra do Caldeirão, between the places of Boião and Azilheira, has an extension of about 9 km and is marked by the presence of water(the stream and numerous springs and sources).
Our idea is to create an interpretive pedestrian route around the sources and springs, some of which are already inaccessible, and with this instrument reach three main objectives:
1) Recovering and valuing existing sources and springs, preparing the local population to be the great host of the “Foutains Rail”;
2) Inform and sensitize the different communities – local, school, population in general and visiting foreign population – to the importance of the Serra in supplying fresh water, offering the river as an extraordinary factor of cohesion and sustainable development of the territory;
3) Finally, to contribute for the reduction of the risks of fire, so that we do not have to remember again, as in the verse of Luís de Camões the «I saw, clearly seen, the living fire.»


  • Walkers, tourists, the general public; Researchers, teachers, socio-cultural animators, cultural agents
  • 1st-3rd cycle schools
  • It is estimated that within 1 year, these resources could directly reach around 1000 people
  • Local government agents
  • General population, with a special focus on the populations of the municipalities of Almodôvar, Silves, Monchique, Loulé, Lagoa and Portimão

Overall achievements

The project aimed to recover and enhance the sources and springs in Serra do Caldeirão, through information and raising awareness. Activities of mapping, cleaning and workshops were developed to promote the valorization of water resources and their surroundings. An information leaflet, thematic workshops and hiking meetings were held to raise awareness among the population about the importance of adopting good practices for the conservation of rivers. Additionally, meetings with local community were held to promote the environmental and socio-cultural integration of the sources between Boião and Azilheira villages. The action directly reached 276 people.

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