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A NATIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR WATER IN FRANCE

Filling out the law on water and aquatic environments, a decree will organise the WIS-F (water information system) by creating the national framework for water data.The goal is to make the WIS-F a component in the design, implementation and evaluation of water policies.


Onema is in charge of launching and providing technical coordination of the WIS-F, the goal of which is to collect, conserve and disseminate data and indicators on water, aquatic environments, their use and the public water and sanitation services. The decree will establish the SNDE (national framework for water data), following approval by a ministerial decision.

The SNDE clarifies the roles and responsibilities of each water-sector participant in implementing the various parts of the WIS-F, e.g. shared methods, dictionaries and data-exchange scenarios, quality-management system, protection systems and data storage, processing and dissemination systems.

It also stipulates how local governments, as well as the public river-basin territorial agencies, associations and companies, can all take part in setting up the WIS-F. The SNDE applies to the State services, public agencies, local governments and any other organisations that request to take part in the WIS-F.

WIS-F management is organised in three parts, i.e. 1) strategic management by the Water and biodiversity department of the Ecology ministry, 2) national technical coordination by Onema, in conjunction with river-basin representatives, technical departments in the ministries and national entities (BRGM, Cemagref, Ifremer, Ineris, etc.), in charge of maintaining the national organisation of the WIS-F, and 3) a river-basin coordination centre (Water agencies, DREAL), which organises data production and use in each river basin.

The SNDE project was examined by the commission of the National water committee representing WIS-F users and received its approval. The SNDE will be filled out with action plans on the national and river-basin levels. The 2010-2012 national action plan is now being drafted and includes some 30 "project" sheets listing the issues, goals, necessary action, deadlines, manager and participants in each project.

Among the planned projects is a portal for public water and sanitation services, a data-processing component for the water-status evaluation system, databases on the quality of rivers and water bodies, on water samples, on migratory species, and an inventory of ecological discontinuities in rivers. The action plan will be validated by the end of the year and completed before the summer of 2010 with a section on overseas river basins.

The www.reseau.eaufrance.fr site may be accessed freely to monitor WIS-F projects and enable water-sector participants to coordinate their work on water data.

Contact : christian.jourdan@onema.fr