It is possible to contribute to the population’s safety when faced with floods and at the same time restore a more natural way of functioning for the river. Combining restoration and protection of the population is the key to river management, implemented through the new GEMAPI jurisdiction. The water agency supports local and regional authorities as they adapt to this jurisdiction across their territory and in their actions on 3 key ideas: giving the river more space, slowing down water flow and general water management by drainage basin.
INTERCOMMUNAL AUTHORITIES, A NEW FORM OF RIVER GOVERNANCE
From 1st January 2018, the responsibility for the maintenance and restoration of watercourses and flood-protection structures will belong exclusively to communes and their public intercommunal cooperation structures with taxation powers (EPCI FP). The 27 January 2014 law on the modernization of public action established a targeted, mandatory competence linked to the management of aquatic environments and flood prevention, entrusting it to communes and groups of communes.
HOW CAN WE IMPROVE RIVER MANAGEMENT AND PREVENT FLOODS ?
Solutions exist for coping with nature and solving many of the problems linked to erosion and dyke collapse. These solutions are also very advantageous for water depollution or replenishing groundwater. These solutions are already operative in many territories and involve 3 key ideas:
Leaving more space for the river: opening up the river and increasing flood control zones. This is a widespread solution in several countries: e.g. the “room for the river” program in the Netherlands or its English equivalent.
Slowing down river flows: re-meandering, allowing sediments to circulate and planting trees on the banks.
Managing water by drainage basin: slowing down drainage streams and promoting their infiltration into the cities and optimizing “river” capital upstream and downstream to prevent floods, because they are not limited by commune boundaries.
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