New front for Macron: green protests
The revolt in France goes ‘Green’. After days of violent demonstrations that set the country on fire after the pension reform approved by the Government without the vote of Parliament, today it was the turn of the environmentalists. A war for water has broken out in Sainte-Soline, a town of just over three hundred inhabitants in the New Aquitaine region in the heart of France. The target is the mega-basins, 16 in all, which the local authorities have planned to collect a total of six million cubic meters of water to be used for agricultural irrigation. Already in October there had been a first dispute, and violent clashes between police and activists had been recorded.
Today thousands, under the aegis of the environmental cartel ‘Bassins non merci’, gathered in procession in the area, despite the prohibition of the prefecture. The atmosphere heated up in the following hours, the demonstrators started throwing Molotov cocktails and burning the vans of the gendarmes who, in turn, began to disperse the demonstrators with water cannons and tear gas.
According to data provided by Interior Minister Gerals Darmanin, there were 24 injured agents, one of which was very serious, and 7 demonstrators. The organizers speak of around fifty deferred in all. “In Sainte-Soline, the ultra-left and the extreme left are of extreme violence against our gendarmes – the minister tweeted -. Unqualifiable, unbearable. No one should tolerate it. Total support for our forces of order”.
– WHAT IS A MEGA-BASIN
We generally speak of “docks” or “mega-docks”, but the official term, preferred by the defenders of these projects, is “reserve” or “replacement tank”. It is a crater-like structure surrounded by a mound several meters high, covered with a plastic sheet for waterproofing. Its function is simple: to draw water from shallow aquifers in winter, when rainfall is more frequent, to store it in the open air and to use it in summer to irrigate crops. The Deux-Sèvres Water Coop, which brings together the farmers carrying out the project, estimates that these works should contain just over 6 million cubic metres, or 20% to 30% of the total volume used for irrigation in the department.
– WHAT THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS DISPUTE
For ecological organizations, the mega-basins are the symptom of a water-intensive agricultural system, which seeks palliatives for recurring droughts and which maintains the illusion that a small adaptation to climate change is enough. For Jean-François Soussana, a member of the High Council for the Climate, these water tanks could also be a “mal-adaptation”. “We will need (by 2050), changes in production systems to reduce irrigation needs and achieve a better balance with the climate as it evolves.”
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