The rain began to fall on the island in the early morning hours of Thursday, but gained intensity throughout the morning, with a number of waterfalls forming on the cliffs surrounding the reservoir area. In the city of Ribeira Brava, flash floods in the local gully left some debris on roads, but there was no news of any damage. Residents of the island have been using social networking sites to share photos of the waterfalls and streams appearing all over São Nicolau.
In the words of the Ministry of Rural Development delegate on the island, Adilson Melício, the rainfall is good news for São Nicolau. “It was the only island that hadn’t had any rain yet. We have information that the precipitation was considerable in Ribeira Brava, Queimada and in the countryside. By approximately 2:00 pm, the water in the Banca Furada reservoir had already neared four meters and more water continued to flow into it,” he explains.
The Banca Furada dam was projected to store 300,000 cubic meters of water and has the capacity to irrigate 35 hectares of land, benefiting some 200 local farmers and generating some 600 indirect jobs. The dam is 42 meters high and 160 meters long and has a 3.5-kilometer pumping system able to take water to two supplementary reservoirs with a capacity of 1,000 and 500 cubic meters, respectively.
The first dam built on the island of São Nicolau was financed by the Cape Verdean government through a 700 million escudo Portuguese credit line. In addition to storing rain water, it will also serve as a pedestrian bridge, thus facilitating the safe movement of people and goods from the community of Fajã.