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12.07.2007

Befesa has been awarded the contract for the Xerta-Sénia canal in Catalonia

Madrid, 7 December 2007.- The Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Action of the regional government of Catalonia has awarded the contract worth 22.4 million euro to improve the canal for the Xerta-Sénia irrigation project to a joint venture between Befesa and Construcciones Rubau through the public company Regs de Cataluña S.A. (Regsa).

The Xerta-Sénia canal is 33.8 km long and has a maximum capacity of 19 cubic metres per second. The initial purpose of the canal, which was constructed 26 years ago, was to supply water from the river Ebro to the iron and steel making industry in Sagunto. The canal fell into disuse following the subsequent decline in industrial activities.

Recently, agricultural producers in the area have asked the regional government for permission to use the canal for irrigation, which would convert a total of 16,500 hectares into irrigated land in the municipalities of Aldover, Amposta, Freginals, la Galera, Godall, Mas de Berberans, Masdenverge, Roquetes, Santa Bárbara, Tortosa, Ulldecona and Xerta.

The scheduled improvement works for 12.85 km of the canal will make water available from the river Ebro. This will require the construction of the new canal along the route of the old one, the improvement of the existing aqueducts and the construction of regulation elements such as weirs and transverse and longitudinal drainage. These infrastructures will benefit some 11,834 users in the province of Tarragona who generally grow olives, sweet fruits and citrus fruits. Irrigation users in Spain consume 80 per cent of the available water resources. To date, Befesa has participated in the transformation and modernisation of 598,645 irrigated hectares.

Javier Molina, Chairman of Befesa, pointed out that "this project allows Befesa to contribute to the development of rural zones by collaborating with the regional government to bring irrigation to areas with significant agricultural potential, encouraging better territorial balance in the rural environment".

Befesa, the environmental services subsidiary of Abengoa, focuses on providing industrial environmental services and constructing environmental infrastructures. It is a public listed company with a market capitalisation in excess of 813 million euro (close 2006) (www.befesa.es).