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Marc Abadie
Director of the Adour-Garonne Water agency


Interview of Marc Abadie

Director of the Adour-Garonne Water agency

France just submitted to the EU the data and policies of the RBMPs and the programmes of measures set up for each basin in view of restoring good status for water and aquatic environments. What are the major issues for the Adour-Garonne basin?

Above and beyond continued efforts against urban and industrial pollution, the main thrust to achieve good status in 2015 for 60% of water bodies in the basin will be a reduction in diffuse pollution of all types (agricultural, but also from towns, citizens and industries) and restoration of the natural functions of wet and aquatic environments on land and along coasts, severely impacted by disturbances to their hydrology and morphology.

In addition is the need, rapidly becoming imperative in light of climate change, for efficient management during low-water periods to provide for all uses while leaving enough water in rivers to maintain aquatic fauna and flora. In line with the Grenelle agreement, almost 60 priority drinking-water abstractions will be protected. By eliminating weirs, the blue corridors will restore ecological continuity in many rivers and ensure free travel of migratory fish, all species of which are present in our basin.

How were these planning tools set up in the Adour-Garonne basin?

The RBMP and programmes of measures were formulated by the basin committee based on hydrographic criteria, in close cooperation with all local water stakeholders (local governments, users, environmental-protection associations, etc.) represented in eight territorial commissions. The stakeholders and citizens were consulted twice and their opinions and proposals were of course taken into account. The basin committee received support from the STB (basin technical office) which includes the basin DREAL, the Onema regional office and the Water agency. The STB managed and coordinated all technical work and the consultation phases.

In the territorial commissions, local technical offices having the same composition as the STB piloted the actual formulation work. I would like to highlight the confident relations and exceptional partnership between the DREAL, Onema and the Water agency in working together over the past seven years.

We are now entering the implementation phase of the programmes of measures. Practically speaking, how will that come about?

Already in 2009, the Water agency revised its 9th action programme and adjusted it to the priorities set by the new RBMP and its programme of measures. It is also carrying out an agency project along the same lines, i.e. providing means and know-how to ensure the success of the RBMP and correspond as closely as possible to the needs of the territories. More than ever, our main job is to stimulate collaboration between our partners and all water stakeholders.

Since the beginning of the year, the Water agency and Onema have been assisting the local State services, notably the MISEs in each department, in launching efforts in the field to achieve the goals set for 2015. The State services manage the programme of measures as well as the monitoring and evaluation work. All of our partners, notably the local governments, are included in the work and, once again, the territorial commissions will be called on to ensure the hydrographic consistency of the work carried out.


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