The Urgell Canals, located near the Catalonian city of Lleida, will not be used for irrigation due to a drought problem forcing farmers to change crop types for this summer.
Announcing that the closure of the Urgell Canals, managed by the autonomous administration of the Ministry of Agriculture in Catalonia, which is experiencing one of the biggest drought problems in its history, has started today, Catalonia autonomous government spokesperson Patricia Plaja said, “We are facing an unprecedented situation in the past. If the central government does not take the necessary measures for the modernization of the canal, we will do our best.” We will do everything,” he said.
Stating that the remaining water in the region will be used for the population, industry and animals, the authorities stated that since it carries drinking water to approximately 77 thousand inhabitants, the water that will provide a supply guarantee to the municipalities will always circulate in the canals.
In the information given to the press, it was noted that the closure of the canals did not affect the agricultural area of 20 thousand hectares in the region, and in principle, water supply was guaranteed until September.
According to the program, it is envisaged that the closed canals will be opened every three weeks for the first time in its 161-year history, a fence system will be used in the canal to meet the water consumption that doubles in summer under normal conditions, and the existing water reserve will be doubled until winter.
Urgell Channels General Director, Xavier Diaz, said that even if it rains in the coming weeks, it is difficult to return to irrigation, and that preparations are made according to next year.
Diaz stated that there is no guaranteed harvest of fruit trees, especially apples and pears, in the region, and that the trees will only survive in the summer heat with timely water.
The farmers in the region, on the other hand, stated that they were very concerned about the drought problem and demanded that the economic losses caused by the early closure of irrigation be compensated, the water resources management plans should be reviewed, and more investments should be made in water storage and distribution infrastructure.
Spain asks EU Common Agricultural Policy to maximize aid
The drought problem in Spain negatively affects other parts of the country besides Catalonia.
The left coalition government demanded “the highest possible level of assistance” from the European Union (EU) under the Common Agricultural Policy.
The government also announced that due to the drought problem and the effects of the Ukraine-Russia war, the taxes levied on the farmers, which it announced to provide diesel and fertilizer aid, would be reduced by 1 billion 807 million euros.