City, Country: Rhône-Mediterranean-Corsica basin, France
French partner submitting the project description: Rhône-Mediterranean-Corsica Water Agency
Project Owner: Rhône-Mediterranean-Corsica Water Agency
French partners: Regional authorities of Franche-Comté, Burgundy, Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon
Dates of project: 2013-2018
A few words on the project…
The Rhône-Mediterranean-Corsica Water Agency is developing a whole climate change adaptation plan at the basin level which consists of various measures.
Background or General project description
The latest scientific findings of the IPCC confirm that climate change is becoming more severe. This is especially true on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, which is one of the world’s hotspots, and in mountainous areas. The facts speak for themselves. For example, the wine harvesting season takes place a month later than half a century ago and this is just the start of the process of change.
The Rhône-Mediterranean-Corsica Water Agency is the main public water body in the large southeastern quarter of France and is fully dedicated to implementing water policy within the region. The Agency collects water taxes paid by households, local authorities, large companies, farmers, etc. Every euro collected is reinvested in services for local authorities, large companies, farmers and associations.
The Agency therefore helps to implement projects aimed at rationalizing water use and tackling pollution and degradation of rivers, lakes and the Mediterranean Sea.
It has developed unrivaled knowledge of water issues and the associated challenges through constant monitoring of water quality and the study of emerging phenomena that will impact the future.
On 28 May 2014, the governing prefect of the basin area, the president of the Basin Committee and the presidents of the five regional councils of Franche Comté, Burgundy, Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Languedoc Roussillon adopted a basinwide plan for climate change adaptation in the field of water. This plan is based on a review of scientific knowledge on climate change impacts. It proposes practical measures for adaptation with three key focuses:
- Encouraging ground permeability: This includes, for example: for every square meter of sealed soil in an urban area, creating an infiltration area of one and a half square meters. Benefits of such a system include less violent floods and greater groundwater levels, a reduction of urban sprawl and better control over urban heat islands.
- Stopping water waste: This includes, for example: i) a water yield objective of 85% for the whole drinking water network by 2030, to be achieved by reducing leakage, and ii) an effort to reduce irrigation water by 20% by 2030. In this context, the Agency has also launched an open call for projects to local authorities, businesses and managers of collective dwellings. This call targets projects concerning leakage reduction in the drinking water network and all projects to reduce water consumption for public uses such as the watering of gardens and parks, in industrial processes and shared buildings.
- Making room for rivers: This involves for example: rethinking land use strategies in order to restore flood plains along 20% of a river’s length by 2020 or to preserve wetlands, which have a natural sponge effect and thus encourage groundwater retention. Investment of the 260 million euros, allocated by the Rhône-Mediterranean Water Agency for the implementation of measures under the plan, has been underway since 2013 and will continue until 2018.
Strengths of project
In 2014, water savings made in the Rhône-Mediterranean basin amounted to 68.6 million m3 (all activities included), which is equivalent to the annual consumption of a town of one million inhabitants.