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Farmers Unable to Water Crops in Salazie, Reunion Island...

Farmers Unable to Water Crops in Salazie, Reunion Island Due to Water Rates

In Salazie, Reunion Island, farmers moved to action. They denounced the lack of water in the commune as well as the tariffs for the water that currently exists. In this period of drought, they criticize both the lack of discussion regarding water extraction and newly-announced water restrictions. The farmers of Mare-à-Martin are already denouncing the decrease

In Salazie, Reunion Island, farmers moved to action. They denounced the lack of water in the commune as well as the tariffs for the water that currently exists. In this period of drought, they criticize both the lack of discussion regarding water extraction and newly-announced water restrictions.

The farmers of Mare-à-Martin are already denouncing the decrease in water being extracted due to water regulations. These professionals claim an “undeniable misuse” of the water resource.

Cimandef Mountain seen from across lake in Mare à Martin, Reunion Island. Lake in foreground reflects mountain in center of background

Despite the number of water sources in the heart of Salazie (as seen in the above photo), drinkable water is actually a rarity - a fact that doesn’t go unnoticed on water bills in the region. But according to the farmers who took up their stance on November 10th, drinking water is “40% more expensive in Salazie than in the commune of Saint-Paul.”

“The fact that the water in Salazie is so much more expensive is incomprehensible,” explains a farmer from the association of vegetable farmers in Mare-à-Martin. These farmers are demanding that the price of water be lowered so that they can water their crops. In this tenuous context, they have decided to bypass the problem in their own way for now -by tapping into the common water supply. This allows the farmers to avoid paying for water .

Plantation in Salazie, Reunion Island. Fence in foreground has wilted leaves hanging off the top mixed with green leaves. Fields stretch into background with mix of green leaves and wilted grass

Faced with elevated prices, certain farmers have opted for this solution, one that they hope will only be “temporary.” In fact, the farmers affirm that if the price of water were “reasonable,” they would re-enter the realm of legality.

Has your city been able to strike a balance between sustainably rationing rare resources and making sure access isn’t inappropriately inhibited? If so, how?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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