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    "We can't wait anymore, we've got to adapt to climate change". S'Ena Arrubia pond overwhelmed by the flood

    It is impossible to pass through. A line of barriers prevents the car to from reaching the last section of the 49, a straight road leading to the fishpond and the Sassu pump. The disaster of S’Ena Arrubia was announced along the road by the fields in the Arborea plain. Hundreds of birds have settled on the drowned crops, as if they had looked for a hotel waiting for the murky waters to stop overwhelming the pond. We focus on the camping, from here it should be possible to reach the fishpond by driving along one of the sheep tracks that run parallel around the banks.

    Irene Nuvoli, manager of the camping, stands observing the mass of water in search of some further sign of reassurance. The sky perhaps, a low gray hood with some tears of blue. The structures are just over ten meters from the new edge of the pond, already covered by a group of peaceful flamingos. The camping is safe for the moment. Irene shows us a possible way around the block to get to the dewatering pump, a long loop threading through Santa Giusta. We pick the more immediate route, a mule track that goes around the pond and ends on the breakwaters that protect the fishpond, partly knocked down by a mistral storm, few years ago. Wrong choice. The few kilometers separating the camping and the fishpond are an endless succession of muddy pools. The nose of the car slips into each of them without any certainty of being able to get out. The water submerges part of the wheels and rises on the door. We pass, the stony component of the path saves us.

    On the wooden jetty that leads to the fish pond, “Lion”, one of the dogs of the S. Andrea Fishermen Cooperative, dashes to meet us. He sniffs the intruder, turns and joins his companions for another run on the dirt road. They are hectic. The fishermen, list of disconsolate faces, gather around the wooden plank that allows them to get to the gates where the muddy waters gushes impetuously. The stream flows marbled with white to the locks, piles up in a mound of foam.

    “It rained for three days in a row. For the moment, the calculation of the damage is limited to what can be seen with the naked eye: a boat was destroyed because it got pressed by the water against the bulkheads of the fishpond. Another sank where those we use at sea are moored. Then there is all the equipment we had placed in the pond, the invisible damage", explains Alberto Porcu, president of the cooperative. Nets for fishes and eels, all swallowed and overwhelmed by the water. Thousands of euros in damages.

    "Yesterday we asked the fire brigade to help us lift the grates in order to allow the water to flow into the sea. But the pressure was such that they failed to intervene. We had to do it ourselves. One of our mates, followed by the whole board, proposed to use a hand hoist and scaffolding element, capable of lifting weights up to one ton. We did it tonight, taking a risk. Luckily, it went well. It is our workplace. We have to protect it”, continues Porcu.

    The situation is improving. It is not the first time that the S’Ena Arrubia pond has been hit by a flood. But even in the annus horribilis of 2013, the rise in the water level due to rain was 20/25 centimeters. Before the grids were opened a few hours ago it was 60. “We found a very significant number of dead fish. Now we have to quantify the damage, but the suspicion is that this water killed everything. It is now clear, we can no longer wait. We have to find a way to adapt to climate change”.

    Cruel nature seems to have targeted S’Ena Arrubia and the cooperative. In the summer of 2018, anoxia devastated all fish fauna. Then came the blue crabs, an Atlantic alien species that found ideal conditions in the sweet waters of S’Ena Arrubia to proliferate and invade the fishing space. The cooperative reacted with great resilience, starting the commercialization of some packaged products and the sale of crabs, investing in a mobile truck-food (first step of a more articulated

    fish farm) and proposing itself as a vanguard in the experimental oyster cultivation, carried out thanks collaboration with the Torregrande International Marine Center. Fortunately, the arrangement of the structures necessary for the cultivation have been postponed. They would probably have been swept away by the fury of the flood.

    “It took us by surprise, even though there is always someone on guard in the fishpond. It rained for three days in a row, and the third was fatal. The damage count will be long, but the season is certainly over for us. The huge pile of dead fish we found well represents what we will find when we can set foot in the pond. So it went in 2013, the veterans say. I don't think it will be different this time", says Amerigo Porcu, brother of Alberto and Alessandro (technical director of the cooperative), who joined the fishermen of S’Ena Arrubia in late spring. With him we proceed along the dirt road that connects the fishpond to the stretch of state road 49 that winds between the pond and the Sassu pump. Here too, in front of the great rationalist construction, the transit of cars is forbidden. With Amerigo's binoculars we see the asphalt destroyed by the storm. Drivers pull by, ask the traffic police and the forest guards who guard the barrier, they go back annoyed.

    Manuela Pintus, mayor of Arborea, is also part of the group of tucked-up figures monitoring the vast mass of brown water, the road and the drainage pump. All communications related to the emergency pass through the phone she obsessively holds in the hand. “The situation has improved a lot compared to yesterday. The road was worked on the flanks. An embankment has collapsed and we do not know what the recovery times will be. Unfortunately, the strong wind from west and north west and the high tide were added to the abundant rains, factors that prevented a natural flow of the waters into the sea. Yesterday we declared a state of natural disaster due to damage to public assets and private assets, which refers to regional law No. 28. In addition to fishermen, some farms were also affected. Several fields of carrots, potatoes and weeds were submerged", explains the mayor, who is about to enter the dewatering pump for a check of its operating conditions.

    She is held by Pietro, who comes suddenly out of his car. He wears jeans, a flannel shirt and a wool cap. He asks for the block of the barriers to be moved a few meters further, so that he can get to the path and reach the work camp. "Ah, so it’s you Mr. ...", exclaims Pintus, telling Pietro about the attempt, the previous evening, to find him and secure him like the other people evacuated from the area. “I've been with the animals all night, and don't worry, if you come back looking for me, another time, you won't find me. So, can we open the passage? I only need a few meters”.

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