France: Victory in Court! 15 Mega-Basin Projects Cancelled!

The Confédération Paysanne welcomes the decision of the Administrative Court of Poitiers, which ruled on two appeals and canceled the project to create 15 mega-basins: nine planned in the Aume-Couture basin (seven in Charente and two in Deux-Sèvres) and six in the Pallu sub-basin (Vienne).

The Confédération Paysanne of the Vienne department is associated with the appeal brought by Vienne Nature and other organizations, which had taken legal action to request the annulment of the prefectural decree in Vienne.

The court followed our analysis and that of the public rapporteur who, during the hearing on September 19, deemed that the planned water withdrawals for filling these “mega-basins” would jeopardize the “balanced and sustainable management of water resources.”

The court’s ruling highlights both the oversized nature of the projects and the local hydrological context and foreseeable effects of climate change.

It clearly shows that the volumes envisaged by these mega-basin projects would allow beneficiary irrigators to withdraw more water than the volumes used in the last 10 years. There is therefore no overall reduction in withdrawals. It questions the very principle of substitution, an argument used by the administration and project proponents to justify the mega-basins.

This ruling demonstrates what we have been denouncing for a long time. If we call them mega-basins, it is not without reason. These irrigation projects do not consider the equitable sharing of water among peasants instead, they extract the maximum amount of water for use by a few people who run these mega projects. These structures remove water from the environment and monopolize it, without any regard for environmental or economic logic.

This ruling in our favour fully legitimizes the demand for a moratorium on mega-basins, as advocated by the Confédération Paysanne, “Bassines Non merci,” “Les Soulèvements de la Terre,” and many other organizations and unions. It would be truly baffling if these projects were to persist.

All projects and mega-basins must cease immediately.