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>> This is an oasis. An artificial lake technically, Portugal's Alqueva lake, the biggest artificial lake in the EU. And this may be the new California. Because some fruit and vegetable growers from California to South America and the rest of Europe, are quietly moving operations here. To hedge their bets as drought and wildfires brought about by climate change, ravage their home soil.
Jose Dariush Leal De Costa is one of them, an almond grower originally from the San Francisco Bay area.>> it is much easier for me to irrigate here in this farm, so we have enough water to the point where I'm five years into a drought and not worried about water.
>> Portugal's Prime Minister himself is directly lobbying Californians on this. He traveled there in June to meet investors in a pitch that laid into global warming fears, proponents believe Alqueva lake is an answer in modern engineering. The man who runs its infrastructure company, Jose Selema, says modern tech means that so far, water consumption here is only half of what it was designed to handle.
And claims it's helping to slow desertification in southern Europe.>> For sure when we have permanent crops, when have agriculture increasing moisture content in the soil, we're increasing moisture content in the air. And so we are creating in fact the green barrier that prevents the advance of the desert.
>> It's also sparked a local economic boom. Selema estimates that roughly a quarter of this land has now seen foreign investment, worth some €250 million in crops and equipment. The project contributed to a record olive yield for Portugal last year, according to government records. And it's bringing more investment in the form of infrastructure for this sleepy region.