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    Patrick Lavarde, General director of Onema


World Water Day on 22 March took on particular importance for Europe because it coincided with the very first reports by the Member States to the EU on efforts to restore the quality of water and aquatic environments. Onema provided for France the technical coordination required for this vast collective effort involving almost 1 200 people and 36 data bases.

The deadline was met and France reported on time to the EU concerning the current status of water in the country. The results show that the chemical and ecological status is good for almost 45% of surface waters, whereas for ground water, the chemical status is good for 59% and the quantitative status is good for 89%. France also reported on the major guidelines and the programmes of measures that it will implement in continental France and in the overseas territories to restore good status, as well as on the waivers required in certain geographic sectors to reach the set goals.

The report constitutes a roadmap for the water sector and a true commitment for all participants to achieve the goals of good water status by 2015. We are now entering the first cycle, 2010-2015. Practically speaking, the goal is to diagnose and learn more on the current status of water resources, their usage and the pressures affecting or that risk affecting water status. We must also stimulate R&D efforts to acquire the techniques and know-how required to work effectively.

Finally, we must take action, i.e. step in to restore environments and run inspections to reduce the causes of damage to aquatic environments. Inspection activities must take place in the framework of the departmental inspection programmes targeting good water status. We must combine police work with incentives for better practices because one does not work without the other. Efforts to restore good water status are a collective challenge for all in the water sector. Onema, whose goals contract is closely aligned with this uniting theme, will devote its full potential to that challenge.


Patrick Lavarde,
General director of Onema

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