The French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environnements

NewsLetter #19

Quarterly - Summer 2014


Transparency of data on the human water cycle is a major issue for Onema - Eric Bréjoux, Director of the observatory on water and sanitation services

The French approach to water management is regularly assessed. At the end of 2012, the interministerial committee to modernise public policy (CIMAP) launched an assessment of water policy and the results of the study contributed to the environmental conference held in September 2013.
Read more


Second national report on the observatory on public water and sanitation services

Under Onema management, the national observatory on public water and sanitation services has published its second report1 on the organisation and performance of French water services, based on data from 2010. It reviews numerous aspects of the human water cycle such as water prices, consumption, leaks in distribution networks, the number and type of services for drinking water and sanitation. For the first time, it indicates the percentage of household budgets devoted to water (1.23%) and it updates former estimates, e.g. the length of French drinking-water networks (1.05 million kilometres) and collective-sanitation networks (370 000 kilometres).
Read more

First Onema hackathon for water data

Following on current practices in the ICT sector, targeting creative and innovative software developments, Onema organised in June the first "hackathon" for water data. The objectives were to imagine and create new technical means to access water data and to design original uses of the data. Organised with Etalab, an agency run by the Prime minister's office to enhance access to public data and develop French open-data sites, the workshop identified specific problems and looked at potential solutions.
Read more

Onema co-funds 13 projects against micropollutants in urban waters

Efforts to reduce micropollutants in water are today a major factor in improving the quality of aquatic environments and public health. Following a call for projects, Onema and the Water agencies have decided to invest 10 million euros in 13 large projects that will test under real-life conditions a number of solutions to reduce and, if possible, eliminate micropollutants from water and aquatic environments. Over the next five years, these projects will involve local governments, engineering firms, labs, as well as both large and small companies.
Read more


Crucial NASCO meeting in Saint-Malo to save the Atlantic salmon

In June, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) met in Saint-Malo for its 31st general assembly to discuss the worrisome situation of Atlantic salmon. The meeting was organised by Onema at the request of the Ecology ministry.
Read more


You will find all publications on the site, in the Resources section.

Designing ambitious projects for river restoration

Feedback from projects in Europe integrating the human and social sciences - Knowledge for action series
Above and beyond the technical aspects, a hydromorphological restoration is an economic, social, cultural and political project that often concerns an area much larger than the local area where the work takes place. The document provides a number of indicators, tools and strategic lessons in the hope of persuading the various stakeholders to launch a project on "their" river and to assist in designing and conducting restoration projects targeting good water status.
For more information

Perspectives of the social sciences on the implementation of water policies

Knowledge for action series
This document assists water engineers and technicians in reflecting on the ethical, political and strategic aspects of their work. A further objective is to provide them with background information on the various theoretical schools of thought and methods in order to better understand their jobs and practices.
For more information

Assessing the passage of obstacles by fish

Knowledge for action series
Onema coordinated and participated in the creation of a standardised national method to assess the passability of transverse obstacles in rivers for fish during their upstream migration. The ICE protocol indicates how to collect and analyse data on the ecological continuity of structures. The Agency has now made the method, designed to be understood and implemented by a wide range of people, available as a book in the Knowledge for action series that may also be consulted on the Onema site (, Resources section) and at the national portal for water technical documents (
For more information ( Flyer)

Reconciling hydraulic management and ecological continuity in littoral wetlands

Onema Meetings No. 24, February 2014
Wetlands depend completely on the hydraulic management of humans and can thus be easily disrupted. The numerous examples of project feedback presented during the symposium in Nantes in September 2013 reviewed the wetland ecological and economic issues, presented new knowledge on their functioning, including the impact of climate change, and identified priority issues requiring work. For more information:
For more information

Methods and tools to control agricultural nonpoint-source pollution for managers of water resources

Onema Meetings No. 26, April 2014
Local governments are frequently confronted with the problem of managing agricultural nonpoint-source pollution. This type of pollution is one of the main causes of the degradation of water bodies in France and Europe. How can its management be improved and its impacts reduced? What are the tools and methods now available to water managers to effectively counter the pollution? For more information:
For more information

Chemical contamination of aquatic environments. Tools and methods for assessment and action

Onema meeting recap series
Confronted with the vast array of polluting substances (wastewater from towns, emissions from industrial sites and farms, etc.) and the complexity of their effects on both ecosystems and lifeforms, water managers and stakeholders have expressed growing needs for operational knowledge, tools and methods. The symposium on Monitoring, assessing and reducing chemical contamination of aquatic environments, held in June 2013, attempted to fulfil those needs. This document recapitulates those discussions. For more information:
For more information

Back to NewsLetter
2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14/ 15/ 16/ 17/ 18/


3 questions for Olivier Thibault,

Director of the Artois-Picardie water agency

More information


A new national action plan to save wetlands
In June 2014, Ecology minister Ségolène Royal visited the Marais Poitevin marshes and launched the third national action plan to save wetlands. The new five-year plan (2014-2018) foresees 52 projects targeting
Read more

Portal showing 75 000 currently listed obstacles on rivers
A new version of the inventory of obstacles to river flow (ROE) is now on-line. The ROE inventory lists all the obstacles on French rivers with the essential information required by water and territorial-planning stakeholders such as the individual national code, location, type and characteristics (gates, fish passes)...
Read more

Public survey on drinking water in the EU
From 15 June to 15 September, the EU commission will run a public survey on the 98/83/EC directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption...
Read more

A group of sick children discover electrofishing
Last June on the Ouche River in the Côte-d'Or department, a group of young patients from the Robert-Debré Hospital learned about electrofishing, the most common scientific capture method used in France and Europe to study fish populations...
Read more


21 October 2014 – Paris The Ecology ministry, Water agencies and Onema will organise a symposium on the 1964 Water law at the Maison de la Chimie in Paris.


Méli Mélo, a funny web series on water
Scientists, comedians from the successful Kaamelott series and water professionals have joined forces to combat clichés and promote good practices for the sustainable management of water. The result is Méli Mélo, a web series and internet site that addresses water issues in a humorous, yet serious manner. Topics include Is water too expensive?, Are medicinal residues in water dangerous?, Should everything go into the sewer system? and Will there be enough water in France? With a number of other institutional partners, Onema supports the project managed by Bernard Chocat (INSA Lyon), GRAIE (Rhône-Alpes research group on infrastructure and water) and Média Pro.
The first four episodes in the series are titled At that price, Rise and shine, Long live free grass and Allais go.
For more information

The Vezins and Poutès dams, two outstanding projects to restore ecological continuity
EDF, the Seine-Normandie water agency and Onema have produced a film on two outstanding projects to restore ecological continuity, i.e. the removal of the Vezins dam on the Sélune River in Normandy and an innovative solution for the Poutès dam on the Allier River. The film was shown during the Annual Meeting of NASCO, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation, held in Saint-Malo from 3 to 6 June 2014, with organisational support from Onema.

It may be seen at

version française I Subscription I Homepage