By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
The Romanian President Traian Basescu yesterday said it is essential Romania finds the financial formula to re-launch construction works for the Siret-Baragan and Bucharest-Danube canals and to be used primarily as water sources, both project amounting to about 3.8 billion Euros.
“As concerns the Siret-Baragan canal, we have to look at it intelligently. Of course no one will be able to say we build it with state budget money. What is left to do to finish the Siret-Baragan canal amounts to 2.6 billion Euros. At the same time, for the other canal, Bucharest-Danube, the sum goes to 1.2 billion Euros. But we can work intelligently since we have this flexibility of the 25 per cent of the Euro funds for agriculture. We can move these 25 per cent to the rural development or we can move them to regional development” Basescu explained at the National Conference of Farmers.
The head of state also added the two canals can be finished using funds allotted to rural development, environment, transport, from cohesion funds or European Investment Bank.
“If we make the rural development plan, plus the overall country’s development plan by means of European funds, if we look at them as a whole, then these works are certainly very important for agriculture. Siret-Baragan and Bucharest-Danube will fit into the money allotted by EU in the next budgetary term” Basescu underlined.
He declared himself convinced the authorities will be able to identify financial resources for the two canals in order to help agriculture adjust to the climate change.
“You can also see this year, like last one, we seem to have only two seasons: winter is followed immediately by high temperatures, sometimes by drought, summer ends suddenly and there come snows. It is clear something has changed in looking at the four seasons and agriculture has to adjust itself to these climate realities” he said.
One of the answers to this, Basescu also told the audience, is the set up of an effective irrigation system. “Looking at the financial resources we have from the EU for 2014-2020, it is essential we find the formula to use these funds destined to rural development and the cohesion fund to re-launch the construction of the Siret-Baragan and Bucharest-Danube canals as water sources for extremely important agricultural areas” he concluded.
The Siret-Baragan canal is designed to have a length of 198 kilometers , linking the Calimanesti-Siret dam in SE Romania with Lake Dridu, about 50 km NE of Bucharest, crossing the Baragan Plain, the main agricultural region in Romania. The constructions started in 1986 under the communism, but were abandoned after the fall of the regime in 1989.
The Bucharest-Danube canal was meant to turn the capital into a port city. The communists started works in 1986 and were abandoned three years later after about 70 per cent of the canal was built. Other than transport, the canal will be used as irrigation source for about 150.000 hectares of land and as a source of energy once four micro-hydropower plants will be built along it, generating about 50 MW of electricity.