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The irrigation canal of Torres, on the left bank of the Segre River and with a similar path to the canal of Fontanet, is named after the town of Torres de Segre with which it connects to Lleida. It consists of a centuries-old ditch which, still today, is used to irrigate the farmlands of Horta de Lleida and supply water to various industries in the zone.

It probably dates back to Muslim times, although the earliest document on record which mentions this canal for irrigating Horta de Lleida with water from the Segre is from the year 1154 and is called Vetula.

With different paths depending on the points from which it took water from the river and brought it back, the canal has been a source of life for centuries for the farmers on the city’s south side. Although its current path is more strongly determined by the city's urban growth, it remains, today, an artery of water which runs parallel to the river from Vilanova de la Barca to Torres de Segre.

It is a traditional sewer consisting of:

- Water collection point on the left bank of the Segre River. In the past, the first catchment point was under the old Lleida bridge and, subsequently, it was taken from under the Canadenca floodgates, at the weir of the Torres ditch, also called la peixera. Once the floodgates of the Lleida dam were built, it took the water from the Serós canal.

- A channel, which conducts the water, along a route of close to 30 km along the left bank of the Segre River.

- A final point of drainage, located in Torres de Segre, the town from which the drain takes its name.

The first documented historical reference is from the era of Christian rule. Guillem de Cervera made a donation to the monastery of Poblet (1153), where the ditch serves as a reference to delimit the properties.

In those days, the ownership and control of the waters was reserved for the sovereign, who could cede the use or administration to whoever paid him. Alfonso, the Chaste, gave to his vassal, Ramon de Cervera (December 1184), the right to take it from any place with the condition that a possible change in its course had to be approved by the Templars.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, there were prolific conflicts over the control of the drain, between the Hospitallers and the Paeria, for the place where the water had to be taken, and also, due to the complaints of the people of Sudanell, for the little water that reached them for their crops. Some of these problems were solved in the middle of the 16th century, when it was decided to vary the course and increase the width and flow. Despite the works, the problems continued, until at the end of the 17th century, the General Council of Lleida granted the license for the construction of a new dam a little above the mill of Cervià, in the peixera.

At the beginning of the 18th century, work began on the new dam and the new section of sewer, until it was connected to the old one. Improvement works were also carried out during the years 1752-1754. Despite the works, water supply problems persisted throughout the century.

Since the insufficiency of water was increasingly evident and the requirements of the commander more numerous, at the beginning of the 19th century, the irrigators of the towers requested and obtained authorization from the Town Council to make a new taken to the Segre. In November 1801, the project was presented which was approved by the Royal Council of Castile in February 1803. The Lleida City Council refused to build the new dam and presented a file, rejected in 1807, by which the works continued.

The heavy rains of July 1837 caused serious damage to the canal and the violence of the river's current swept away the aqueduct and made it disappear. The works to repair the damage ended satisfactorily in June 1838, although the damage caused to the farmers by the lack of irrigation had been incalculable. In the following years, the problems continued due to the continuous damage to the drain.

In 1849, the assets of the Torres hospital order were acquired by the society Clua&Socis and they recognized the community of irrigators as owners of the sewer. During the rest of the century, the problems for the property of the sewer will continue; one part said that the property belonged to the society and another part said that it belonged to the irrigator community. The most serious of these problems came in the summer of 1870, when the community of irrigators built a mill, which was destroyed by the other side claiming the right to possess the water.

The community of irrigators was not constituted as such until 1912. This implied that the only entity with legal capacity to manage irrigation issues was the City Council. That same year, construction began on the Canadenca dam, for the Seròs canal, which was committed to supplying sufficient water to guarantee the irrigation of the Torres canal.

Throughout its history, the Torres drain has been a clear witness to how the people of Lleida looked after their gardens, and it has also supplied water to homes, industries and mills.

The canal has seen, as generation after generation, the inhabitants of the orchards on the left bank of the river, suffered from a lack of water. Sometimes because of the figure of the commander (he was the person in charge of the collection, maintenance and supply of water, sometimes abusing the power he had over the farmers and not fulfilling his tasks); other times due to drought (which reduced the flow of the Segre to the point where it was insufficient to supply water), and other times due to floods (which deteriorated the drainage system and prevented the supply from arriving).

This century-old canal still irrigates orchards and supplies water to towers and industries in the Lleida, Albatàrrec, Montoliu, Sudanell and Torres de Segre spas. It is an important infrastructure that has transformed an arid and dry land into a green and fertile one, which takes water from the Seròs canal. The growth that the city of Lleida has undergone in recent years has modified some parts of the drainage system. In 2010, the sewer was piped, in its passage through the Cappont neighborhood (195 linear meters of new piping), with sufficient dimensions to be able to absorb the flows granted to the Torres de Segre Irrigation Community by Fecsa - Endesa.


TORRES GRAELL, M.C.; SOL i CLOT, R. (1974). Història de un canal: 1147/1974. Lleida

PANADÉS i MARSELLÉS, I.; ESCOLÀ i PONS, M. (1990). La Sèquia de Torres i el regatge al Baix Segre. Torres de Segre: L'Ateneu.

PANADÉS i MARSELLES, I.; ESCOLÀ i PONS, M.; BERTRAN i ROIGÉ, P. (1983). Torres de Segre: panoràmica històrica. Torres del segre: Ajuntament de Torres de Segre

S.A. (1975) Torres de segre: recopilación de datos de la villa: del anyo 200 a. C. hasta el 1912 de nuestra era. Lleida: Imp. Comercial

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