While the reuse of wastewater from wastewater treatment plants is widespread in southern Europe, it is France is exceptional. But the drought that has been raging since April 2022 in Roussillon could move the lines. In any case, this is what Baptiste Cribeillet, arborist and president of the Authorized Trade Union Association (ASA), wants to believe, which irrigates about 300 hectares of crops between Villelongue-dels-Monts and Saint-Genis-des-Fontaine, three-quarters of which are planted with fruit trees and the rest of the vines.
"We are carrying out this test to see to what extent it would be possible for us to use this treated water to support irrigation if our territory, like the Tet valley and the Agly valley today, were to go into crisis." For the moment it is the enhanced alert regime that applies and reduces channel flow rates by half and a quarter for pressurized systems such as drip.
900 euros per day and per truck
The experiment conducted on Tuesday, May 23 consisted in calculating the time it would take to bring water by tanker truck from the Saint-Cyprien wastewater treatment plant to near the ASA pumping station that supplies the pressurized network. At a rate of 30 cubic meters of water, class A, per trip and three rotations per day, the time to fill and empty the tanks, Baptiste Cribeillet estimates that he can inject 300 cubic meters per day, or 10% of the flow that could remain in the canal in the event of a crisis.
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But at what cost? "It's clear, it's expensive, 900 euros per day and per truck, we will have to find funding. " But this may only be the first move of a multi-band game... "What is interesting is that we are experimenting with this system and this is the first time in the department. And a wastewater treatment plant will be built 150 meters from our network," adds the young farmer. Who hopes to be able to connect his ASA to this future resource and take less from the river.