Title: History of an irrigation canal: the 'Real Canal de la Infanta', Barcelona, Spain

Authors: Jose Luis De la Peña; Miquel Salgot

Addresses: Departamento de Aguas y Alcohol, Instituto Grifols, S.A. C/Can Guasch, 2. 08150, Parets del Vallès, Spain ' Unitat d'Edafologia, Facultat de Farmàcia, Spain; Water Research Institute, University of Barcelona, Joan XXIII s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

Abstract: A great agricultural development took place in the Llobregat river delta, near Barcelona, during the 19th century in order to fulfil the demand of the growing town and even to export vegetables and fruits to the north of Europe. This demand favoured the transformation of dry land agriculture into irrigated one through the construction of infrastructures for water distribution. In the lower part of the Llobregat river, a canal for supplying water to agricultural fields was built supported by the authorities and landowners. The Infanta Luisa Carlota de Borbón Canal (Infanta Canal) was 17 km long with several complementary minor canals and distribution facilities to irrigate around 3,000 hectares which allowed at least three crops per year. Apart from irrigation and industrial uses, this system was used to generate electricity. Over the years, agriculture disappeared from the area due to industrialisation and urban growth and the canal was partially transformed into a sewer. Its trace has been lost near the Mediterranean Sea, although there are still some remnants. Nowadays, several teams are trying to describe and recover this historical facility.

Keywords: Infanta Canal; industrialisation; urbanisation; agricultural decline; Barcelona; Spain; agriculture; canal history; irrigation canals; water supply; electricity generation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGENVI.2016.074366

International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 2016 Vol.15 No.1/2, pp.169 - 178

Received: 05 Aug 2014
Accepted: 11 Nov 2014

Published online: 24 Jan 2016 *

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