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Portugal to clear reservoir area before impounding

Portugal has decided to clear the bed of a hydro reservoir, by removing nearly 1.3M trees during the coming year.

The work has been ordered bec- ause it is believed that submerged, decaying trees could reduce oxygen levels in the reservoir and promote the growth of algae.

The reservoir will begin filling after the 96m high dam across the Guadiana river is completed in 2001.

At its full supply level, the reservoir is expected to cover nearly 2509ha and extend 80km in the farming region of Alentejo in southeastern Portugal.

The dam will generate hydro power for the region; provide water for irrigation; and create 20,000 jobs in the area, through recreational opportunities and tourism.

The European Union is reported to be paying for more than half of the US$407M cost of the project.