Planas: This government is committed to sustainable irrigation, a guarantee for the future of the agri-food sector and the rural environment

News - 2022.9.8

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has reiterated the Government's firm commitment to the modernisation of irrigation systems, because aside from favouring greater competitiveness and profitability of production, they also guarantee efficient use of water and energy and make these more sustainable. To this effect, the minister again announced that up to 2027 more than 2.1 billion euros will be invested in modernisation works for a more competitive agriculture, which will secure employment in rural areas. This is "the largest public investment in sustainable irrigation", and will be made in just over six years, he stressed.

The minister today visited the construction works of the Molinar del Flumen canal pumping station in Sangarrén (Huesca), which is the first irrigation modernisation project to be carried out among those included in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR). Planas, who in the morning held a meeting with the President of the Autonomous Community of Aragon, Javier Lambán, and the Regional Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and the Environment, Joaquín Olona, who later accompanied him on his tour of the works, pointed out that the modernisation of sustainable irrigation is a strategic move to meet the challenges of climate change in agriculture in a country known for recurrent periods of drought.

He explained that the aim of all these investments is to extract the highest possible yield from each drop of water, using digitalised systems that also incorporate clean alternative energies to promote the economisation of resources, which will ultimately result in the greater sustainability of agricultural production. The minister recalled that Spanish irrigation is one of the most competitive in the world with the most advanced systems, along with Israel, and that the Government's investment plans aim to ensure that it continues to be a model of success.

The Recovery Plan is allocating 563 million euros to the modernisation of irrigation systems, 53.5% of its total budget, with 82 actions programmed in two phases in two agreements signed between the ministry and the Sociedad Estatal de Infraestructuras Agrarias (Seiasa). With the contributions of the irrigation communities, which finance the works up to a maximum of 20 %, the total investment will exceed 700 million euros.

This amount is in addition to the 410 million euros of NextGenerationEU funds included in the Agri-food Strategic Project for the Recovery and Economic Transformation (PERTE) for actions in irrigation, plus the ordinary funds of the General State Budget.

Aragon, the starting point for state implementation of the PRTR irrigation system

Four actions will be carried out within the PRTR in the region of Aragon, with a total budget of 84.6 million euros, some 12% of the national total. The Sangarrén pumping station works visited by the minister have a budget of 9 million euros, and in the second phase another action is planned with the same irrigation community of Molinar del Flumen for 40 million euros. The other two programmed actions are the integral modernisation of the irrigation system in Bardenas (26.5 million euros) and the irrigation community Nuestra Señora de la Alegría in Monzón (8.9 million euros).

The total investment in irrigation modernisation projected by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food up to 2027 amounts to 310 million euros and includes, in addition to the actions of the PRTR with European funds, those financed with the department's ordinary budgets.

The minister had previously visited the Monegros II irrigation works in Bujaraloz (Zaragoza), which are budgeted at 29 million euros and financed with funds from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA).

Non official translation