SAFEGUARDING economic sustainability and water supplies in the Valencian region is to cost 1.2 BILLION euros, with the help of the EU.
A new Valencian Irrigation Strategy was revealed yesterday, March 22, by Ximo Puig, President of the Valencian Community.
Coinciding with World Water Day, the announcement was made during a video conference, joined by the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister for Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition.
Most of the budget, some €1,065m, will be spent modernising irrigation throughout the 23,000km2 (9,000 square miles) region.
The remaining €132m will be used to promote renewable energy and achieve a more efficient use of energy.
Puig described the 20 year plan as a “second agrarian revolution in the Valencian countryside [that will] intelligently manage the water shortage.”
He continued, “managing water scarcity is part of our personality [as] water has always been a need and a challenge.”
Benefits of EU membership was highlighted, with the president admitting he was determined to take advantage of the opportunity provided by European funds.
The project is expected to have a number of positive repercussions for agriculture, food processing, transport and exports.
On the subject of the environment, Puig added that the plan would, “contribute to slow down the deterioration of the planet and avoid rural depopulation, guaranteeing strategic food autonomy.”
Expanding on the autonomy subject, he looked at the need to avoid dependency on food production from abroad.
“It may be cheaper, but it is also a huge weakness [but] we need to ensure local food production is viable.”
The Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Energy Transition, Mireia Mollà, declared the loss of farming land over the last 30 years, has been, “an ecological and ethnological drama that requires putting all the means at our disposal to reverse that trend.”
She concluded, “water is a strategic and unique asset and that thought has made us a leading territory at the national and international level in water management.”
Interestingly, she added that 114 million cubic meters of reused water was used last year, the equivalent to fill 45,600 Olympic swimming pools.
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