Spanish Water Supplies

1Lt. German Francisco Muñoz Rivas
First published in
SFOR Informer#165, September, 2003

The summer sun can destroy the work of several months in just a few days. In Popovo Polje, an area between Trebinje and Ravno, the Spanish Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) had to intervene to save approximately 110 hectares of plantation from being devastated by drought.

Popovo Polje - In collaboration the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Movement for the Peace Development and Liberty (MPDL) and the Spanish government funded Team International Cooperation Spanish Agency (AECI) the authorities of the region set about the redevelopment of the valley. The initial task was to remove the mines to allow cultivation to begin. Currently there is now 110 hectares being farmed. In order to sustain the crops the water conduits needed to be repaired but this has been delayed to to problems with the antiquated system. The continuing drought over the last three months has started to threaten the plantations and the local population made a plea to the Spanish Cimic Team for help. They provided two 9000 litre water trucks, manned by a sergeant and eight soldiers who temporally lived in the area, delivering water to the various properties until the situation was resolved and the conduits repaired.
The farmers expressed their gratitude to the CIMIC team and the long term plans to repair the irrigation system, rejuvenating a once fertile area back to its pre-war condition. Farmer Milan Komnenovic commented, " It is extremely heart warming to see this project, because as one of the people whose livelihood depends on cultivating this ground, without it my future would be very bleak. I think it would be good to extend this program to other areas which are in need of water".
Itzlar de Miguel, the person in charge for the project within MPDL, stated that, "It is difficult for the project to help everyone but by helping to repair these old irrigation systems, and with the help of SFOR we are helping to prevent these periods of drought becoming economic crisis's". This has been an opportunity to help the local community both Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat.
It has very satisfying seeing the faces of the farmers knowing we have helped them maintain their livelihoods, and bring Bosnia and Herzegovina one step closer to normalisation" concluded Spanish Captain Raul Sanchez Prendes, Liason Officer Spanish Cimic Team.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Spain

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Photos: 1Lt. German Francisco Muñoz Rivas

Gathering the water of the channel for his distribution.

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SFOR members and local farmers working together at the irrigation.