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Managing aquatic environments and flood prevention: Irstea and Cerema support local governments

© Irstea / R. Tourment


GEMAPI (Management of aquatic environments and flood prevention) is a set of responsibilities newly attributed to towns and groups of towns that will come into force on January 1, 2018. Everyone needs to start getting ready now. Cerema and Irstea have offered to go one step further and take into account other municipal “water” projects in an even more integrative approach to the water cycle as part of regional land use. A call for partners was launched during the Mayors and Local Government Exhibition.

In order to organize control of regional structures to manage aquatic environments and prevent floods, the law of January 27, 2014 to modernize public action on a regional level has allocated new responsibilities known as GEMAPI (Management of aquatic environments and flood prevention) to towns and groups of towns. For managers and elected officials, this is an opportunity to take control of the maintenance and restoration of rivers and flood protection structures. The new responsibilities should, in the long term, ensure better management of risks related to water and aquatic pollution.

Calling for Cerema-Irstea partners

In this context, Cerema and Irstea are proposing to go a step beyond the responsibilities required by GEMAPI. The aim is to take into account other municipal "water" projects in an even more integrative approach to the water cycle at the regional level.

A call for partners was launched during the Mayors and Local Government Exhibition (May 31 to June 2 in Paris). The call was primarily addressed to groups of towns with a common developmental purpose or project, basin syndicates or regional public organizations for basins (EPTB) that want to develop the necessary methods for taking on the new responsibilities of managing aquatic environments and flood prevention (GEMAPI).

The call for partners covers the following 4 topics:

  • Regional assessment to develop local strategies for restoring the environment and preventing floods: development of mapping methods and indicators to express "GEMA" and "PI" challenges; definition of upstream/downstream or rural/urban joint liabilities; creation of new responsibilities and feedback opportunities.
  • Integration of the various components of GEMAPI: managing and restoring rivers, lakes, wetlands and riparian forests, especially through ecological engineering and defining and managing dike systems and dams.
  • Development and socioeconomic assessment of projects and action plans for GEMAPI, based primarily on multicriteria and cost/benefit analyses, prioritization, and the effectiveness of these actions.
  • Creation of innovative measures for data acquisition and processing, mapping and decision-making support.

Partnerships will aim to take into account the diversity of these topics due to geographical characteristics, the location of scientific and technical teams and their ability to act, etc. For example, in the coastal areas, flash flooding and coastal protection structures are the issues, whereas in the Mediterranean areas, flash flooding caused by high water and water resources are of greater concern.

Conferences and training: Irstea works closely with regional stakeholders

As experts in flood risk management and the study of the quality of aquatic environments, Irstea scientists are helping managers and government officials manage these new responsibilities. Irstea will therefore be attending the Mayors and Local Government Exhibition held in Paris at Porte de Versailles from May 31 to June 2:

  • Wednesday, June 1, 9am to 12pm: mini-conference on GEMAPI. Rémy Tourment, Irstea research engineer specializing in protective dikes and dams, will be lecturing with Jean-Marc Chastel, Deputy Director for Risks, Health, Energy and Climate at Cerema. At the Cerema booth: Pavilion 2.1, Stand F36.

At the same time, and also at Porte de Versailles, will take place the Congress of French Mayors and Intercommunal Presidents:

  • Wednesday, June 1, 4:30pm to 5:30pm: a talk entitled "GEMAPI: local organization and the responsibility of elected representatives with regard to floods and aquatic environments." Rémy Tourment will be in attendance to answer questions.

Irstea teams are also involved in training elected representatives. In this way, Daniel Poulain, researcher at the Irstea Bordeaux Center, will be participating in a day organized specifically for elected representatives by the IDEAL Connaissances network in Paris:

  • Monday, June 13, 10am to 4pm: “Dikes and dam systems: definitions and workings.”

More information on the call for partners.

For further information