VIDEO – “It’s scandalous!” : thousands of opponents gathered in Puy-de-Dôme against a mega-basin project

VIDEO – “It’s scandalous!” : thousands of opponents gathered in Puy-de-Dôme against a mega-basin project
VIDEO – “It’s scandalous!” : thousands of opponents gathered in Puy-de-Dôme against a mega-basin project

Thousands of opponents of mega-basins demonstrated this Saturday in Puy-de-Dôme.

The protesters are contesting the project to build two reservoirs in the cereal plain of Limagne.

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The weekend

We have to take a backseat!“, “Death to tarpaulins!“, “Everyone hates mega-basins!“. Several thousand people gathered this Saturday in Puy-de-Dôme to oppose the project to build two mega-basins in the region. The procession, between 4,000 participants according to the prefecture and 6,500 according to the organizers, s set out mid-morning in a good-natured atmosphere to denounce the plans to build two water reserves, one of 14 hectares, the other of 18, intended to irrigate 800 agricultural hectares in the Limagne plain , where Limagrain is located, which is none other than the 4th largest seed company in the world.

We have 36 farms out of the 5,700 in the department which will consume more than two million m3, or the water consumption of 47,000 people per year. It is not possible“, defends Anton Deums, member of the “Bassines non merci 63” collective, in the video at the top of this article.

Water pumped into the Allier

As a reminder, mega-basins are open-air replacement reserves, used to store water during the winter period in order to irrigate in the summer, when precipitation is rarer. Farmers in the region plan to build the two largest mega-basins in France within three years. The project leaders estimate that during periods of flooding, it would only take half an hour of pumping to fill a basin.

It’s scandalous to go and take water in winter and say, it doesn’t matter!

A participant in the demonstration

But the argument does not satisfy these environmental activists. “It’s scandalous to go and take water in winter and say, it doesn’t matter. In reality, it is very serious. It has been years since the water tables have been filled, except this year when they are full“, denounces a demonstrator, in the video. According to the project, the reservoirs would be filled directly by pumping into the Allier river during the winter period, between November and March. And it is therefore not planned to draw water from the underground water tables, as in Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres). The collective “Bassine non merci!”a Natura 2000 classified area, which locally supports the drinking water supply of more than 200,000 inhabitants“.

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This is not the only argument the protesters are making. “In full sun and in incredible temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius, the evaporation of these masses of water is enormous.“, maintains another demonstrator, in the video. Indeed, as the water is stored in the open air, there is in fact a quantitative loss. For his part, Limagrain explains that “it is essential that farmers can continue to produce quality crops in sufficient quantities” and so “irrigate when necessary“, in the name of the “Food Safety” in times of climate change. For the moment, the farmers behind this mega-basin project have not yet submitted a formal request to the Puy-de-Dôme prefecture.


MD | Report: Guillaume Frixon and Céline Olive

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