Associations are mobilizing against a “gigabassines” project in Puy-de-Dôme

They are opposed to the construction of two water reserves, one of 14 hectares, the other of 18 hectares, intended to irrigate 800 hectares of agricultural operations in the Limagne plain.


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The Limagne plain in Puy de Dôme, June 2, 2021. (MAXPP)

Protest is mounting in Puy-de-Dôme over a “gigabassines” project. An activist collective is organizing a Saturday, May 11 “festive hike” protest against these water reserves described as “the largest in France”. They are opposed to the construction of two water reserves, one of 14 hectares, the other of 18 hectares, intended to irrigate 800 hectares spread over 36 agricultural farms in the Limagne plain, where Limagrain is located, fourth largest seed company in the world.

This represents “the equivalent of 500 Olympic pools” And “this is why we no longer talk about mega but about gigabassins”, explains to AFP Isabelle, member of Extinction Rebellion and spokesperson for the collective organizing the march. These projects have not yet been the subject of a formal request for authorization, but its opponents wish to obtain a moratorium. The objective is to“act before the work begins”adds Maud, from the Bassines non merci 63 collective.

Thousands of participants expected

More than a year after the mobilization against the megabasins of Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres) which led to violent clashes with the police, this day is intended “family”. The Puy-de-Dôme prefecture has, however, announced reinforced security measures, including additional numbers of gendarmes, specifies France Bleu. The Bassines non merci 63 collective, Extinction Rebellion, the volunteers, the Peasant Confederation and the Earth Uprisings are waiting “a few thousand” of participants. The prefecture between 2 and 3,000.

Opponents believe that “It is Limagrain which is pushing this project in the interest of securing its production of seed corn intended for export, all financed 70% by public money”. The national secretary of Ecologists Marine Tondelier announced her presence. “Building megabasins ignores the basic problem: water scarcity”, she denounced in a press release. LFI deputies, including Mathilde Panot, are also expected on site.

“This project is not supported by Limagrain” which, however, “supports” For “develop the means of production and promote the production of (its) members”, nuance a spokesperson for a cooperative bringing together 1,300 farmers. According to him, the reservoirs would be filled by sampling in Allier between November 1 and March 31, respecting the authorized flow rate of 45.7 m3/second and would allow the “storage of 2.3 million m3 of water during winter, or 0.12% of the volume” of the tributary of the Loire. But opponents fear that these limits will then be called into question by derogation.

Water withdrawals intended for irrigation more than doubled between 2010 and 2020 in France, reaching 3.42 billion m3 in 2020, according to a report (link in PDF) of the regional chamber of the Court of Auditors of Nouvelle-Aquitaine published in July 2023.

source site-29