Monday, 16 February 2009

Brussels cuts down Segarra-Garrigues channel

More than 18,000 farmers from the Segarra-Garrigues area are called to demonstrate today in Barcelona. Farmers are shocked by the decision from the European Union to cut substantially the irrigated area to be created by the new channel, because the project does not protect the birds of the zone. According to them, the cut makes the huge project something failed and unworkable. The Government is negotiating with Brussels in order to get a compromise that would allow both the irrigation and the protection of birds.
The Segarra-Garrigues canal is to open the gates early this March, to bring to life the territory's largest transformation ever planned in Catalonia. Following similar projects in Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, provides a wide turn arid region of about 100,000 hectares of dry land in an irrigated area, with more intensive farming and new economic activities in what is now one of the most depressed areas of the country. The transformation will take place through a channel of 85 kilometers length, taking water from the river Segre.
The current project, under construction, expected to 26,000 acres could not be watered because they have been declared as specially protected areas for birds. The European Commission, however, has decided that it is not enough and has added more than 20,000 hectares. This would reduce the area of irrigation to 54,000 hectares, half of the total area.

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