Orgeval's 50th anniversary and the 37th GFHN conference

From November 20-23 2012, Irstea is celebrating Orgeval's 50th anniversary and is organising the 37th GFHN days.

This conference is organised by Irstea in partnership with:

  • The Groupe Francophone Humidimétrie et TraNsferts en Milieux Poreux (French-speaking group for moisture measurements and transfers in porous media)
  • The GIS ORACLE (scientific interest group ORACLE)
  • Eau de Paris
  • The Pôle STVE (Paris Ile-de-France centre for the science and technology of living organisms and the environment)
  • The RBV (catchment area network)
  • The ONEMA (The French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments)
  • IAHS (International Association of Hydrological Sciences)


Theme of the Conference

Based on 50 years of measurements and research carried out at Orgeval, we are presenting an event on "The long-term observation of the environment".

The scientific interest group at the ORACLE/BVRE Orgeval research institute (ORACLE) and the French-speaking group for moisture measurements and transfers in porous media (GFHN) have joined forces to organise an international conference.


The aim of this event is to give long-term observation its rightful place and show it off to advantage. Such observation is essential for research and civil society. Considering the issue of porous media such as soil also involves presenting the challenges still to be answered in measurement techniques, understanding processes and flows, and interface modelling.

Although research on long-term observation of the environment themes and, more specifically, on porous media is extensive, it is often dissipated in the scientific community. By means of the research work that will be presented, discussions on new methodology for studying water transfers in soil, sub-soil and landscapes, as well as interest in technical aspects and in talking to local authorities and decision-makers, the conference presented here is an important instrument for research in managing water resources and risks, as well as for assessing ecological, economic and social vulnerability in the face of changes in the global and local environment.  It is important to be able to adapt to these changes by developing integrated approaches combining the management of water resources with the use and development of territories.


Aims and organisation of the Conference

The Conference falls within the following generic theme:
LONG-TERM OBSERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT: What are the issues and challenges for research? What are the different perspectives of scientists and managers? What are the impacts for decision-makers and civil society?

What are the issues :
  • for international multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research?
  • for integrated understanding of land-based systems and their processes?
What are the impacts :
  • for the management of territories and civil society?
What are the challenges :
  • for instrumentation (developments, innovations and interdisciplinary sharing of techniques)?
  • for studying processes (e.g. water and pollutant transfers) and flows (e.g. of gases and water)?
  • for modelling, issues relating to interfaces and change of scale?
The Conference covers 4 days :

Tuesday November 20
Invited lectures on long-term observation of the environment in France, Europe and at the international level

Wednesday November 21
Technical visit of Orgeval and a "Land and Water Sciences" debate

Thursday November 22
Thematic sessions (oral and poster papers)
  • Long-term measurements in porous media: technical innovations
  • Processes and flows in porous media
Friday November 23
Thematic session (oral and poster papers)
  • Modelling, interfaces and change of scale in porous media

Call for posters for the International Day on November 20: Long-term observation of the environment

The call for posters for the day on November 20 applies in particular to the long-term observation of the environment.

To submit your posters, go to the Submission section.

Call for papers (oral and poster) for the GFHN thematic sessions

The call for papers for the thematic sessions applies in particular to natural or artificial porous media.

  1. Session on long-term measurements in porous media: technical innovations
  2. Session on processes and flows in porous media
  3. Session on modelling, interfaces and change of scale in porous media

To submit your papers, go to the Submission section.


The Conference is supported by :

Eau de Paris is a City of Paris industrial and commercial public utility company. The company comes under municipal control and its purpose is to manage the public water service in Paris, from producing water to distributing it to users and consumers.  Eau de Paris encourages environmental, economic, social and socially aware development and defends the principle by which water is public property accessible to everyone.

Irstea, the National Institute for Environmental and Agricultural Science and Research, is a public scientific and technical research establishment under the dual supervision of the Ministry of Research and the Ministry of Agriculture. It has an agreement with the Ministry of Ecology, which is the co-signatory of its constitutive decree. This decree, dating from 1981, has just been revised.


The STVE centre is organised as a scientific interest group and resulted from the shared aim of the six founding establishments to create "a significant group capable of facing up to international competition in training and research within its fields of expertise" in the Ile-de-France department. Since its creation, it has used a schematic representation of its thematic structure (figure below) as a sort of reference point for implementing its activities. This reference displays an intention to decompartmentalise themes and institutions, and make communication easier between the partners. The STVE centre therefore provides a reference framework that is gradually predominating in actions and is proving to be operational. For example, this reference forms an appropriate framework for structuring reflection on overhauling the STVE's Master's programme and developing the ABIES PhD programme, backed by the centre's teaching establishments (AgroParisTech, ENVA, ENSP) and supported by the main host laboratories (INRA, CEMAGREF, ANSES).


The catchment area network (RBV) is a multidisciplinary research network whose mission is to federate national efforts carried out by various fundamental and applied research organisations (CNRS, Universities, INRA, CEMAGREF, IRD) on different types of rivers and their catchment areas. The RBV brings together around fifteen elementary research institutes, both in France and in the developing countries where they have advanced scientific collaborations. 


Onema is a national, public agency whose mission is to restore the good ecological status of water and aquatic environments, the goal set by the European Water framework directive (WFD). The agency, comprising recognised capabilities for scientific and technical advice in the fields of water and aquatic environments, as well as excellent knowledge on aquatic environments and water stakeholders, participates in implementing public water policy.


IAHS promotes the study of all aspects of hydrology through discussion, comparison, and publication of research results and through the initiation of research that requires international cooperation. IAHS Press publishes the bi-monthly Hydrological Sciences Journal, the Red Book Series that includes proceedings of between eight and 12 symposia per year, and other more specialised publications. IAHS maintains strong connections with the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO and with the Hydrology and Water Resources Programme of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).


Born from the will of the teachers and intended for the origin to the teachers, the CASDEN is an organization of State education. For this reason, it is member of the ESPER (association for the Social economy Partner of the School of the Republic) since his creation. The ESPER gathers organizations of the social economy (associations, mutual insurance companies, cooperatives, trade unions) acting in the field of the school and the educative community. The whole of these members, whatever their activity (health, insurance, bank, accompaniment of the educational trades…) share common values and maintain the close relationships.