The Albufeira Convention

Since the nineteenth century, Portugal and Spain have been establishing partnerships and treaties, mainly to define boundaries and uses of the rivers' bordering stretches. The Convention on Cooperation for Portuguese- Spanish River Basins Protection and Sustainable Use, usually referred as the Albufeira Convention and active since 2000, was framed under the WFD principles and was the first to address all the shared rivers, at the river basin scale.

The Albufeira Convention defines the framework of bilateral cooperation for sustainable water management of the shared water resources, within a river basin (DR 1999). It promotes coordination on specific bilateral issues, such as flow regime, droughts, and emergency situations (Maia 2011). The Convention states that Portugal and Spain shall "coordinate actions to prevent and control drought and water scarcity situations" and should "undertake joint studies of drought and water scarcity."

One of the most important achievements under the convention, undertaken by the Commission for Convention Development and Appliance (CADC), was the revision of the provisory minimum flow regime (MFR) established by the convention. Those values must be guaranteed at some control sections, in nonexceptional years (defined mostly based on values of referenced precipitation monitoring stations), as described by Maia (2008). However, that regime may be revised to take into account the environmental flow regime established by the RBMPs. In fact, currently, Spanish RBMPs have larger minimum flow values than those established by the Albufeira Convention; Portuguese RBMPs have yet to establish these values.

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