Home - Vision - The specific aims of ONEMA


  • The new Statement of objectives with the State




  • France reports to the EU on its strategy to achieve good water status by 2015

    •   On 22 March 2010, France submitted to the European commission the data on water status in France and the overseas territories, as well as the programmes of measures to be implemented in view of restoring water and aquatic environments to good status, in compliance with the Water framework directive (WFD). Onema provided the technical coordination required for this vast collective project that is remarkable for the number of actors involved as well as the diversity and volume of data.
  • ONEMA and the "Grenelle de l'environnement" commitments

Onema and its new Statement of objectives

On 22 July, Onema signed its new Statement of objectives with the State. The document is based on three main strategies, i.e. support integrated water policy with knowledge and science advice, contribute to restoration of good water status and sustainable water use, and contribute to more efficient implementation of public water policy. Those strategies are expressed in the form of 23 operational objectives.

Six priority topics:

        status, operation and services of aquatic ecosystems;

        balanced management of water resources;

        preservation and restoration of aquatic environments;

        risks caused by chemical contamination of aquatic environments;

        water and urban development;

        water quality and rural areas.

The new Statement of objectives was signed in a context of rapidly evolving environmental issues (climate change, increasing tensions between various uses of water, emerging pollutants, etc.) and a full political agenda on both the national and European levels (WFD, tenth set of programmes of measures by the Water agencies, the project to modernise public policy, the future biodiversity agency, etc.).

Support for water policies

The overriding objective of Onema is to produce high-level science and technology advice to assist in formulating, implementing and assessing public water policy. This know-how, based on scientific and technical knowledge, environmental data, various methods and tools, and valuable feedback from its field personnel, can be brought to bear on the national and interbasin levels as well as on the European and international levels.

Develop an RDI policy (research, development, innovation)

One of the main activities at Onema consists of managing, with the Water agencies, an R&D policy addressing operational needs and based on partnerships with the main national scientific institutes. Transfer of research results will be enhanced to provide the necessary tools within the deadlines set by the operational programmes. A policy to encourage innovation will also be developed, notably for the fields of chemical and ecological monitoring, quantitative water management and ecological engineering. The objective is to have the stakeholders (local governments, industrial companies) agree to test under real conditions the new tools and processes that will enable an ecological transition.

Improve our environmental knowledge

The water information system (WIS-FR) is the central system for knowledge on water and aquatic environments in France and its effectiveness will be improved. Over the period 2013-2015, efforts will address the four main WIS-FR projects, i.e. 1) knowledge on the quality of rivers and lakes stored in a single national database (Naiades), 2) a system for quantitative knowledge on water uses based on BNPE data (national database on water abstractions), 3) the SEEE water-status evaluation system and 4) the observatory on water and sanitation services. Water data is already available for public policies and will progressively become accessible to the general public.

Reinforce the water police

On-site inspections on the observance of water regulations are a central component in restoring water to good status and avoiding further degradation, and Onema intends to improve the water-police activities carried out by its personnel. The agency will take an active part in formulating the inspection programmes targeting good water status and will contribute to their implementation within the inter-agency coordination organised by the Prefects and State prosecutors. Onema will also work to improve follow-up on citations and penalties by reinforcing its contacts with the offices of the State prosecutors in the departments.

Use of the available means

Given the increase in the work assigned to the agency in support of public policies and in light of the available human resources, Onema will concentrate its means on the priorities set by the Statement of objectives, clarify its partnership policy and will make considerable efforts to enhance its collective efficiency, rationalise its work and pool the available resources.