The increase in water requirements due to urbanization and economic development, along with increasingly frequent water shortage periods, stretches resources. The correct functioning of the aquatic environments directly depends on the quantity of water in watercourses and groundwater. To obtain good water status, the balance must be found between resources (supply) and the quantities abstracted (demand). Changing behavior is a priority. This new behavior is based on water sharing, for which the rules and the actions to be taken are compiled in management plans.
40% of the areas in the Rhone-Mediterranean basin havea chronicdeficit of water. These zones are identified by the SDAGE as priority areas for quantitative management.
150 million m3approximately, is the amount of water that would be required during months of water deficit to guarantee balanced management of the resource in the Rhone-Mediterranean and Corsica basins.
HOW CAN WE IMPROVE WATER SHARING AND SAVINGS?
Set up concerted water management plans (PGRE)
in the 72 SDAGE priority areas across the whole of the Rhone-Mediterranean basin.
The construction and implementation of water management plans (PGRE) are based on the results of these studies on the volumes to be abstracted.
These plans define :
water sharing rules (breakdown by use and type of user and crisis management procedure)
a related action program (water savings, substitution, monitoring ...)
These plans must be adopted in consultation with area water stakeholders. They are led by local management structures and/or government departments.
Saving water and strengthening control of water requirements
Water savings reduce the amount of water abstracted and contribute to re-establishing the quantitative balance. Some leeway exists: improving yield on AEP networks, regulation of volumes abstracted through gravity channels, changing from gravity irrigation to aspersion or even drip irrigation...
A special effort is required to control water demand to make it possible to adapt to climate change. It is essential on a long-term basis to make usages less dependent on resource availability, thereby reducing its vulnerability in water shortage situations.
Mobilizing substitute resources from the point of view of sustainable development
As a last resort, when water saving and water management improvement measures prove inadequate for resolving quantitative imbalances, investment in substitute resources may be envisaged. The challenge is to adopt an approach that is both sustainable and correctly proportioned in terms of the size of the structure, economic balance and, naturally, in terms of impact on the environment. Use of transfers or storage instead of water abstraction must then be proposed as part of an area project. In practice, this would be through PGRE.
improving knowledge about the quantitative situation to give precise details of SDAGE priority bodies of water, defining a status standard and developing solutions to facilitate concerted management.
WATER AGENCY RESOURCES
Support for local stakeholders
Stakeholder consultation, commitment and organization are key elements for improving water sharing. The agency offers technical and methodological support when projects emerge, with support at every stage of the changeover towards balanced quantity management: research, status reports, definition of objectives and the structuring of stakeholders ...
The agency offers financial aid to initiate:
the emerging of territorial governance and the construction of management plans for water and low water situations;
optimizing use of existing local resources, particularly through water savings;
improving structure management (dams and canals...) and sharing the water they contain;
mobilizing substitute resources;
improving knowledge about water abstraction, river flows and groundwater levels.
These rates are defined on an incentive basis, to encourage water savings, reduce waste and preserve the natural flow of water courses.
Rates for abstracting water
fees for abstracting water for hydroelectric production purposes
fees for storing water during low water periods.