Irrigation: the BRL construction site is in full swing in the Hérault Valley

Irrigation: the BRL construction site is in full swing in the Hérault Valley

In the Valley, BRL carries out irrigation work on behalf of the Region. Midi Free – JEROME MOUILLOT

Irrigation: the BRL construction site is in full swing in the Hérault Valley

The Pouget pumping station is modernized. Midi Free – JEROME MOUILLOT

Irrigation: the BRL construction site is in full swing in the Hérault Valley

Au Pouget, les eaux de surface sont captées dans l'Hérault. JM – JM

Launched a few weeks ago from Pouget towards Saint-Bauzille and Vendémian, the expansion of the Region's irrigation network is supported by BRL for a budget of 6.5 million euros. ;. Other work is also underway in Montagnac, Vendres or Sauvian…

The ballet of backhoe loaders continues on the banks of the Hérault, and in the heart of the Valley vineyards. From the Pougétoises banks and to Saint-Bauzille-de-la-Sylve, Vendémian… the project launched on the existing irrigation network, property of the Region, is here insured by BRL. "This work will make it possible to carry out an extension of 640 hectares of the existing perimeter. It is an agricultural hydraulic network, explains François Gontard, Director of Planning and Heritage at BRL.

A saturated area in summer

On the left bank of the river, upstream of Trois Fontaines, the pumping station in Hérault is currently being modernized. Branches will be added to the network and "In places, the diameter of the pipes will be increased a little, which will make it possible, on the existing perimeter, to serve a few more farmers. Because in the summer, distribution capacity was saturated. Some had terminals near their plot, but we could not serve them", specifies the development manager at BRL. 

A project independent of that of the ASA of Gignac

Amounting to 6.5 M€, this extension project is completely independent of that carried out by the' #39;ASA de Gignac, (Midi Libre on February 13 and 14). As part of the Water Resources Management Plan, additional volumes were allocated by the Department and directed, from Salagou, towards the BRL-Region perimeter, (i.e. 550,000 m3 out of the 2, 8 M m3).

An excitement that is coming to an end…

In the department, and particularly in the Heart of Hérault, projects to extend agricultural hydraulic networks are multiplying, sometimes blurring the lines. And this excitement owes nothing to chance.

Certainly, for several years, "global warming has been strongly perceived by regional agriculture. But, above all, since 2006, regulations have authorized the irrigation of vines, which, until then, was not, explains François Gontard. This was a trigger. From there, many wine-growing territories expressed a demand for water even though there was no infrastructure to satisfy their demand. There was therefore an emergence of projects. This was the subject of prior studies, identification of needs…"

Project owners took on the projects and put together the grant applications, the studies and finally carried out the work. The first projects were released 10 years after the change in regulations. "Between 2015 and today, many projects have been released. At the BRL level, during this period, we carried out, spread over time, approximately 6,000 hectares of extension in 10 years (between Gard, Hérault and l&#39 ;Aude). All this is part of a program funded by Europe, the Region, the Department, BRL and the Farmers who benefit from the water. Everyone contributed to these projects."

This vast plan is now coming to an end, in Pouget, Montagnac, Vendres and Sauvian (with impoundments in 2025). "Today, Europe and the Region are relaunching new calls for projects over a period of 5 years. But, for the moment, we have no visibility on future projects", concludes François Gontard.

Other major projects

In Hérault, in 2022, "we have flooded a perimeter in the Florensac, Pomerols, Pinet sectors. This is a hydraulic extension connected from the Aqua Domitia adductor (Rhône water via the Philippe Lamour Canal)&amp ;quot;, specifies François Gontard.

Other work underway: "Work is currently underway in the Montagnac sector, also with Rhône water. We are here in relatively close territories, but with different resources. For the “coastal” part, the opportunity of this adductor makes it possible to serve the territories without additional withdrawals from the Hérault River."

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