The French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environnements

NewsLetter #4

May 2009

Responding to future challenges of water and aquatic systems


Patrick Lavarde General director of Onema

Patrick Lavarde The Grenelle de l’environnement agreement placed water at the heart of a comprehensive environmental approach with two ambitious goals, first, restore or at least make significant progress toward good ecological status of all water bodies by 2015, and secondly, guarantee the sustainable supply of high-quality water to meet the essential needs of people. It reinforced the policies already launched in France following the European water framework directive in 2000 and the Water law in 2006.
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SPECIAL REPORT : ONEMA and the Grenelle commitments

Prevention of chemical pollution

Managing the risks arising from medicinal residues in water
Over the past 15 years, progress in physico-chemical analysis has made it possible to detect medicinal residues in natural surface and ground water and in the water intended for human consumption. Read more

Onema in the national PCB action plan
Following the detection of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) levels higher than the authorised thresholds in the flesh of certain freshwater fish, the public authorities launched in the beginning of 2008 a major national action plan. Read more

Limiting the impact of phytosanitary products on water resources
The Ecophyto 2018 plan targets a 50% reduction in the use of pesticides over the next ten years and the gradual removal from the market of the most dangerous products. Onema has been put in charge of a part of the funding for the plan. Read more

The blue corridor to restore the ecological continuity of rivers
The goal of the blue corridor is to create true territorial continuity and thus facilitate the movement of species and protect biodiversity. Made up of rivers and water bodies, it is linked to the green corridor, a set of large natural zones linked by corridors. The concept emerged in the Grenelle agreement as a tool for territorial management. Onema contributes to mapping continuities and discontinuities in aquatic environments on the national level and is an active participant in setting up the general guidelines for blue corridors.

A map of continuities and discontinuities in France
A list of almost 50 000 obstacles, including dams, locks, weirs, mills no longer in operation, etc., on French rivers has been drawn up to date. They are the cause of major transformations in the morphology and hydrology of aquatic environments and have a profound negative impact on the operation of ecosystems.
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Restoring ecological continuity
On the national level, an initial set of guidelines on the protection and restoration of river continuity was presented to the Green and blue corridor committee for the Grenelle agreement.
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Management of water resources

Detecting leaks in water networks
"We have requested from Cemagref an evaluation of the physical installations in distribution networks and of the economic consequences of strategies for their preventive maintenance and rehabilitation", says Stéphane Garnaud, a Water planning and technologies manager.
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Reusing treated wastewater
Reuse of treated wastewater is a common practice worldwide, but very limited in France. It could be a means to reduce draw-offs and be used in particular for irrigation of crops and watering of parks and recreational installations in cities.
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Halting the erosion of biodiversity

The case of eels
The population of European eels has continued its decline to the point where the current level threatens the survival of the species. An ambitious European regulation, targeting recovery of the eel stock and requiring that each Member State submit a management plan to save the species, was voted in September 2007.
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A public/private research programme to save the European eel
The eel management plan includes an ambitious R&D programme. "The goal is to better understand eel behaviour and to assess and reduce the impact of structures on species migration and mortality,..."
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Questions for André Flajolet, president of the National water committee and key promoter of the Water law.
The National water committee (CNE) was created by the 1964 Water law and is essentially the "Water parliament" in France.It brings together and creates synergies between all the various stakeholders in the water field, including elected officials, the State, local governments, consumers, associations, etc.Serving as the place for the initial, guiding debates on future water policy, the committee also advises on subsequent State plans and documents.
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Colloquium on atlantic salmon : 21st and 22nd October 2009 Oloron-Sainte-Marie (France) more

Ecological Engineering: from Concepts to Applications : 24th December 2009 Cité internationale universitaire de Paris, France more


Progress report on the European IWRM-NET programme
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Financial solidarity with the Corsican basin
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Collaboration agreements with three Water agencies
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Onema at the World water forum in Istanbul
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Onema in the Foundation for research on biodiversity
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National management of invasive aquatic species
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Four priorities for the scientific council
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A joint Onema-Cemagref team for a research-action plan on rivers
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Toward joint policing activities with ONCFS
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Upgrading water-treatment plants in the overseas territories
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A joint Onema-Cemagref team for a research-action plan on rivers
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