1,000 km of shorelineThe basin covers mainly 5 regions (23 departements). It also includes a number of towns located in another 7 departements.
There are abundant water resources in the Rhone-Mediterranean basin:
Water pollution by dangerous substances impacts fish stocks, drinking water and the ecosystem. The fight against this type of pollution therefore addresses one of the most significant challenges facing the Rhone-Mediterranean basin both in economic terms and in health and environmental terms.
Overall, the Rhone-Mediterranean basin has abundant water resources (the Rhone, the Durance, the Verdon, etc.), but they are unevenly distributed: certain sectors such as the Ardèche, the Côte-d’Or, the Drôme, etc. suffer from recurring water shortages.
Water is diverted for three purposes: agricultural irrigation, industry and drinking water.
|Agricultural irrigation||Industry||Drinking water|
|Surface water (total 100%)||70%||15%||15%|
|Underground water (total 100%)||10%||25%||65%|
Whilst meeting vital human needs, the diversions significantly impact on certain environments, especially in periods of drought.
Over the next twenty years or so, important changes will need to be introduced, notably linked to climate change, population increase and developing needs (farming, leisure, etc.). It is therefore essential that we act now with the future in mind to gain a better understanding of this resource and what is required to maintain a sustainable equilibrium and ensure continued economic viability and the longevity of the aquatic environments.
With urbanisation, man-made river banks, barrages, dredging, etc., many of the Rhone-Mediterranean basin’s water courses have been developed with the result that their natural function is disrupted, biodiversity is impacted, etc.
Physical restoration carried out on water courses like the Drugeon, the Ouche and the Rhône has produced some improvement. However, the challenge is not to turn these aquatic environments into ‘Sanctuaries’, but to carry out development and restoration projects with the intention of preserving the conditions they need for their continued existence.