Drought: despite the ban on irrigation, farmers continue to water their fields

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Drought: despite the ban on irrigation, farmers continue to water their fields

published on Saturday August 06, 2022 at 11:40 a.m.

A historic drought is raging throughout France. In some departments, water use restrictions have been put in place.

But according to Le Parisien, Saturday August 6, some farmers disobey to preserve their crops.

It’s a story of survival, to save our skin.” Pascal Ribreau, farmer living near La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime), defends himself in Le Parisien, Saturday August 6. While a historic drought hits France and restrictions on the use of water are decreed in certain departments, the farmer continues to irrigate his fields “ in complete illegality “. As president of the Authorized Trade Union Association (ASA) of Aunis irrigators, he specifies that 110 other farms of the association have imitated him.

A disobedience started at the beginning of May, from the first order decreeing restrictions on the use of water. “ It had never happened so soon. On May 23, we therefore took this collective decision, because the corn had already been sown and the costs incurred — from 600 to 700 euros per hectare. The year is very bad. If we had not irrigated this corn in June, we would have nothing. But we have to pay the loans, our expenses and feed our families“, explains the farmer to the Parisian.

650 kilometers of dry rivers in Charente-Maritime

Pascal Ribreau saw his equipment sealed by the gendarmerie on July 28, without much consequence for his operation: “ We had set ourselves a stoppage of irrigation on August 1 “, he specifies. Despite these disagreements, the prefecture of Charente-Maritime considers that the decrees “ are very largely respected ” after around thirty control operations, relates Le Parisien.

Asked by the daily, Gilles Brichet, president of the Departmental Federation of Fishermen, is more virulent: “It’s a scandal, a real provocation.These irrigators must also be responsible citizens.(…) The heat wave only accentuates this situation which is, in reality, linked to poor management of water without taking natural environments into account.” In Charente-Maritime, 650 kilometers of rivers are dry, out of 1,500 in total. Sylvie Marcilly, the president of the department, called on the population to be careful. “Every drop of water counts!” she said in a video released Thursday, August 4.

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