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From this Tuesday, the Canal d'Urgell will stop supplying water, thus bringing to a premature close the annual irrigation season for the first time in its history, after the irrigation period began in March. The measure, which is of an exceptional nature and will cause 70,000 hectares of cereals and fruit trees on the Plain of Lleida to be left without water, is obviously a consequence of the lack of rain that means that the reserves of the Oliana and Rialb reservoirs are at a minimum. But it is obvious that, in the face of a predictable threat, since climate change did not begin just last week, too much time has been wasted on purely superficial actions, such as the name of the department itself - the Catalan ministry for Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda - and too little has been dedicated to the planning of economic investments that were essential for a persistent drought like the current one.

You only need to take a ground zero tour of the area irrigated by the Canal d'Urgell and talk to the farmers to see the magnitude of the catastrophe that will unfold this summer. At least two important impacts: the loss of harvests, on the one hand, together with the risk that fruit trees will die; and the increase in prices, since all of the product for regular consumption that is now lost will have to come from somewhere else. It's hard for a city dweller to get a real idea of the impending catastrophe, since farmers, let's not kid ourselves, have always been the ugly ducklings of our society. There is a lot of preaching about the need to promote local products and the defence of organic fruit, but never is there time to raise public awareness of the need to help farming more, when what is at stake is not only its survival as a strategic sector for the country but also a certain idea of what Catalonia is.

There is also the paradox that Barcelona is expelling its citizens due to the exorbitant housing prices, while in other urban centres, there is no move towards the creation of conditions for agriculture as a way of earning a living. In order for everyone to get an idea of what the closure of the Canal d'Urgell means for the farmers, it is equivalent to disconnecting factories from the electricity supply. And not just for a while, but indefinitely. That is what we are talking about, grave as it may sound. Campaigns to raise awareness among people of the need to use less water, or divert complaints towards the tourist sector, which protects itself especially against the summer campaign in order not to cause an economic crisis of colossal dimensions, are all well and good. But the real issue is the need for massive investments and in record time.

On Friday, March 31st, president Aragonès called a Catalan summit over the drought, and, as everyone knows, it turned out to be a huge failure. An issue as serious as this cannot be taken forward by the government alone, nor by any of the opposition parties on its own. The reason for the disagreements was explained as the issue of infringement penalties for the municipalities, an issue that may be important, but is not at the core of the problem. Which is, how to alleviate the drought with investments that will regenerate and reuse water. Next Sunday, it will be one month since that failed meeting and no reassuring message has been sent to the farmers. It's only necessary to talk to them to realize this, and to understand that Barcelona needs to stop listening only to itself and the usual endogamy of the capital.