In Deux-Sèvres, confrontation between opponents and defenders of irrigation “mega-basins”

Several thousand people – 3,000 according to the organizers, “A little more than 1,500” for the prefecture – demonstrated in Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon (Deux-Sèvres), Saturday, November 6, against a construction project of sixteen “mega-basins” intended for irrigation. At the beginning of September, the work to dig the first of them, near the village, set fire to the powders, the opponents judging the illegal site. These reserves are intended to allow, in the words of Thierry Boudaud, president of the Coop de l’eau, project manager, the water supply of « 450 irrigants ». With a target of completion in 2026.

The imposing crater of what is called a “substitute reserve” has already been completed, while the Poitiers administrative court rejected, on May 27, nine of the sixteen basins, arguing their excessive size. An insufficient decision for a dozen associations which appealed against the judgment, denouncing a “Poor information to the public”, the “Oversizing” of all the planned works, the “Impacts on terrestrial environments, in particular habitats and protected or even threatened species such as the little bustard”

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For opponents, Saturday’s demonstration was to be a major action. In the colorful crowd, the flags of all colors testified to the diversity of the organizations and associations present, from Attac to the association supporting the victims of pesticides in the West, as well as the imagination of the participants who had made their signs, “Bassasine’s Creed”, “Water Apocalypse”, “Water rage, water despair” …

Thousands of people demonstrated against a project of sixteen
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At the heart of the mobilization, the question of the agricultural model and the preservation of biodiversity. “I am here to defend soil and water, and agriculture that is the opposite of the current model”, advances Lune (an assumed name), a young woman of 29 years, a builder in the building, coming from Paris, who chose to become “activist”, moving from struggle to struggle, from ZAD to ZAD [zone à défendre], silver mask on the face and all dressed in blue, like many demonstrators dressed in overalls, blouses of the same color, according to the instructions given by the organizers.

“Mauzé on basins”

Pascale Pavageau, she does not wear blue but her tricolor scarf of deputy (without label) to the mayor, in La Rochelard, a small town of 580 inhabitants which adjoins Mauzé. “We voted a motion against these basins in the spring of 2020 [une quarantaine de communes ont fait de même], because we are against this infrastructure which will benefit some, even though it is partly financed by public funds. And, contrary to what we have been told, they will not fill up with rainwater but by drilling, withdrawals from the water table ”, indignant the elected 58-year-old.

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In Deux-Sèvres, confrontation between opponents and defenders of irrigation “mega-basins”