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Hydraulic regeneration

Hydraulic regeneration

Hydraulic regeneration

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NRRP funding to the Consorzio della Bonifica Renana for a project to revamp plants and canals in basin closure

As part of the NRRP, the Italian land reclamation consortia have proposed to the country a programme of extraordinary renewal and maintenance of the national hydraulic network. The objective is to increase the resilience of territories and agrifood economies to the drastic climate changes currently underway, with drought phases and extreme weather phenomena now recurring.

Consorzio della Bonifica Renana (CBR) has also applied for NRRP funds for a programme of structural interventions to regenerate the functionality and capacity of the main nodes of the consortium’s hydraulic system. And the CBR’s project for revamping the plants and canals in its basin closure, namely Saiarino and Vallesanta, both located in the municipality of Argenta (FE), has been financed with 40 million euro.

Here, for a century, all the surface waters of the plain of Bologna area have converged through the large canals that connect the entire consortium network (collector canals).

Almost one hundred years after the General Land Reclamation Project was implemented (1925), these veritable water highways show a strong reduction in their capacity to hold water, due to the sediments accumulated over a century of operation. A hydraulic regeneration has therefore been proposed, through dredging and draining the sludge from the Lorgana, Garda and Menata canals. This intervention will allow the recovery of reservoir volume and the restoration of their original hydraulic efficiency.

This will also allow the irrigation reuse of the important volume of water that accumulates in these nodes of the hydraulic drainage network (water derived mainly from the Po river, through the Emiliano Romagnolo Canal). This also increases the irrigation availability for the plain lands north of Argenta, without further withdrawals from the current surface water sources.

In order to achieve these objectives, the Saiarino and Vallesanta water-supply plants (already equipped with connections and manoeuvring organs that allow the water raised to be sent not towards the Reno river, but towards consortium canals used for irrigation) will undergo a complete technological overhaul.

In fact, these plants, with their nine mechanical lifting pumps, were designed for drainage and water reclamation and are intended to lift ‘peak’ flows only for short periods, i.e. during rainy weather. Instead, the current design objectives are to lift “minimum” flows but for extended periods, in order to meet the irrigation needs of that area.

The Renana Land Reclamation project therefore achieves a twofold objective: the increase of both hydraulic defence capacity (thanks to a greater volume of floodwater storage) and the availability of surface water resources for irrigation purposes during the summer season. And this without incurring greater withdrawals from Emiliano Romagnolo Canal.

Moreover, among the interventions of the consortium programme, there is one that is of particular importance for the local community and that is the installation of fibre optics, overhead lines, necessary both for internal communications between consortium structures and for cabling the village of Campotto; this equipment will be implemented by CBR in synergy with Lepida SpcA.

The Ministry of Infrastructures and Sustainable Mobility has allocated 40 million euros of funding to this project of CBR, within the framework of the NRRP funds. With regard to the implementation status of the intervention programme, the executive design of the first lot of works is being completed, as well as the in-house design of the rehabilitation of the large canals that reach the territory of Argenta.

The construction sites are scheduled to start by the end of this year. On this major intervention, as on all those of the NRRP, the situation of uncertainty in 2022 weighs heavily, due to the international situation on the scarcity of materials and the increase in costs dictated by double-digit inflation.

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