Onema

The French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environnements

NewsLetter #8

Spring 2011

Responding to future challenges of water and aquatic systems

Editorial

Alexis Delaunay, Director of the Inspections and territorial action department

The year 2011 is the Year of the Overseas territories. Scattered all over the globe, they represent remarkable biodiversity and variety. Often located in tropical zones, they suffer from a number of handicaps in that they are islands or, in the case of Guiana, confronted with the immensity of the Amazonian forest. They represent a total of 2.6 million inhabitants.
European directives apply to the French overseas departments (FOD) and impose the same goals and deadlines as for continental France (except Mayotte which has an extended deadline), yet they are confronted with 40 years of delays in implementing water policies (basin committees and Water offices were only recently created). Read more

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Improve knowledge on overseas aquatic environments

To meet the evaluation goals for water status set by the WFD, the necessary data must be available in the five French overseas departments (FOD). The data production and storage tools developed in continental France are available, but must first be adapted to the specific conditions in each FOD. The national framework for water data, for which the French government approved the action plan in July 2010, has planned the extension of the data system to the FODs. Read more
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Funding sanitation infrastructure

A major effort in the name of inter-basin solidarity is being made to assist the French overseas departments (FOD) with their wastewater-treatment projects. The goal is to fully implement the Urban wastewater directive in the highly diverse FODs. Read more
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R&D work required to implement the WFD in the French overseas departments

There is very little targeted research on water in the French overseas departments (FOD) compared to the work required to implement the Water framework directive (WFD) in those departments.
Onema supports the major research organisations and design offices in fields ranging from bioindicators to water management. Read more

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The water police in the overseas departments

The 2006 Water law applies to all French departments, including the overseas departments (FOD). The conditions for its implementation had to be created in the latter in parallel with its deployment in continental France. For historical reasons, Onema was present only in Reunion, but the goal of good water status applies to all FODs. The first steps will therefore be a generalisation of the agency's presence in the FODs and establishment of the initial inspection programmes. Read more

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INTERVIEW

Interview with Jeanne Defoi, director of the Martinique water office, member of the Onema board of directors

The overseas departments have started to implement the European water framework directive (WFD).
We are 40 years behind continental France in implementing water policy. The first Water law in 1964 did not cover the French overseas departments (FOD) and we had to wait until the 1992 law to introduce the main elements of water management and create the basin committees. The law established the Water offices in 2000 and the first "draw-off" fees could not be collected until 2006, the remainder starting in 2008. Yet in spite of these delays, we must apply the WFD with the same goals and the same deadlines as continental France. That means we must pick up speed, notably in knowledge acquisition. Assistance from the Ecology ministry and the inter-basin solidarity provided by Onema were the means to launch the initial projects.
More information

IN BRIEF

First meetings between FODs
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Chlordecone - step two with the 2011-2013 national plan
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Green technologies and treatment of effluents
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Monitoring aquifers in the Caribbean
Read more

Selecting bioindicators for coral reefs
Read more

A database on river obstacles
Read more

Measuring the passability of installations
Read more

A status report on migratory species
Read more

Test on the Carhyce protocol in Martinique
Read more

Carthage database now available in Guiana
Read more

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