On Saturday April 1, the “STop Micro 38” collective organized a rally to denounce “water hoarding” by electronics manufacturers. According to activists, the equivalent of “12 Olympic swimming pools” of water would be “squandered” every day to manufacture electronic chips in the Grésivaudan valley.
Sky, azure, navy, turquoise: protesters decked out in all shades of blue this Saturday to render “tribute to the Romanche river“. By mid-morning, nearly 1,000 people gathered at Brignoudin the valley of Gresivaudanto denounce “water grabbing” by electronics manufacturers.
In the viewfinder activists are two companies in particular: STMicroelectronics and Soitec. These two companies, based in Crolles, specialize in the manufacture of electronic chips and semiconductors. But these industrial processes require a lot of fresh water. And the construction of a new factory, announced with great fanfare in the presence of Emmanuel Macron last July, should increase this consumption.
“That It seemed rather strange to us that the President of the Republic, with three ministers and Thierry Breton, European commissioner, came in July to congratulate themselves on the expansion of the factory. Already it used 176 liters of water per second, and now it will use 336. Wasn’t that enough? They didn’t have enough water? sasks a member of the collective, who wishes to remain anonymous. And a month later, the whole of France was in drought level 4 and people were being asked to take care of their garden!“.
After the expansion of the plant, work on which has already begun, STMicroelectronics and Soitec”are expected to consume more than 29,000 m³ per day. That is the equivalent of 700,000 showers, 12 Olympic swimming pools or 16 mega-basins of Saint Soline” ensure the collective STOP Microphone 38.
After the demonstration that took place last weekend against the project of mega-basins in Sainte-Soline, in Deux-Sèvres, the use of water in the valley of the Gresivaudan has therefore attracted the attention of defenders of the resource. On his websitecollective STOP Microphone 38 even speaks of “water war“. “Through our actions, we want to remind that behind climate change and socio-environmental injustices, there are political decisions, companies and very strong economic interests” justify the members of the collective.
The latter castigate the “double standard” which allow the electronics industry to “pump” a lot of water, while “drought alerts follow one another”that “groundwater conditions make national media headlines” and “restrictions for residents and farmers are increasing”.
In addition to water consumption, the militants of the collective accuse the industrialists of polluting the water and rejecting it in the Isère. They rely in particular on a survey published by the Grenoble media Le Postillon. The latter explains that the water, used to clean the silicon plates, “takes care of the quantity of chemicals used during the processes”.
This polluted water is then purified in treatment stations. “These final processes allow the polluted water to pass below the pollution thresholds defined by the “DREAL” recognizes local media.
Similarly, the effluent discharged into the Isère does not exceed the thresholds set by the Prefecture. “That’s still 50 kg of suspended solids, a chemical oxygen demand of 150 kg, 15 kg of phosphorus, 120 kg of ammoniacal nitrogen, 70 kg of fluorides, 0.25 kg of copper, 0.5 kg of aluminum and 150 kg of nitrogen. Per day !” ensures Le Postillon, who was able to consult the environmental declaration of STMicroelectronics. “Even when respecting the thresholds defined by prefectoral decree, industrial discharges can make water of excellent natural quality unsuitable for any agricultural or leisure use. Infinitesimal pollution repeated over years can rot a physical environment..
An argument shared by the defenders of water, gathered this Saturday in Brignoud. “The two local chip producers are in the process of monopolizing our resources with the complicity of the public authorities who bend over backwards to allow industries to pump our entire fleet… At a time when in times of drought Taiwanese chip factories are supplied by tanker truck and water for domestic use is rationed there is really nothing left laugh” writethey on their leaflet, before concluding: “Ifuture of Gresivaudan could be playing now”.
Source: France TV Info