In a context of old and heterogeneous buried canals having to collectively share the ressource and face scarcity, the members of the water rights management commission were led to set an innovative framework to improve water management and progress in participatory optimal water allocation. Saving water is indeed possible when resources issues are well monitored and anticipated, when workforce for on site control is increased and water withdrawal techniques are properly implemented and monitored.
Commission Exécutive de la Durance (CED) / Executive commission for Durance River. Submitted by Denis Baudequin CGAAER, Secretary to CED et al.
IWRM, forecasting anticipative management, WEB based management, open canals, hydropower, participatory public local governance
integrative (technical, institutional, legal, communication, participatory, collective) management
In a context of old and heterogeneous buried canals having to collectively share the ressource and face scarcity, the members of the water rights management commission were led to set an innovative framework to improve water management and progress in participatory optimal water allocation. Saving water is indeed possible when resources issues are well monitored and anticipated, when workforce for on site control is increased and water withdrawal techniques are properly implemented and monitored. An additional three factors made the decision-making process on the field much more efficient: (i) grouping together, within a Commission, canals Authorities and the State (since the French government has authority on permissions to take water), (ii) deploying a centralised web based system to control all the samples and (iii) using a set of tools to forecast resources availability changeswith the support of EDF, and in doing so, the CED Commission and users became best able to anticipate, monitor and manage in real time optimal water allocation decisions in case of shortage.
The Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur Region (south-east of France) and in particular the lower valley of the Durance
Designer: Commission exécutive de la Durance – CED (Executive Commission for Durance River. Local governance by Users+State Administration).
Main Partners: Electricité de France – EDF (national French electricity company, responsible for hydroelectricity for river Durance), Société des Eaux de Marseille – SEM (water supply company of Marseille, responsible for the Marseille Canal), and all canal Authorities taking water in the Lower Durance watershed (most of them ASAs – users associations with public status and governance)
The project is also being supported by the RM&C Water Agency and the DREAL.
Participatory methods proved strategic: established by law since 1907 within the Lower Durance Watershed, they were significantly improved since the construction in 1955 of hydroelectric dams and canals operated by EDF, taking into account regulations, upgrading models & management tools and developing arrangements to face collectively water shortage situations in the Mediterranean
How to collectively manage territorial water distribution through an important network of ancient multiple-uses open canals with technical operational and historical differenciations ? To achieve a more efficient, thrifty and shared vision of the resource, within a collective and user driven single participatory and technological framework ?
- Crises are more likely to be anticipated now with forecasting tools to anticipate tension in resource availability, for irrigation, tourism, etc)
- The WEB “supervisor” can monitor 34 intake sites real time to support CED, created 1907, in decision making and elaborating a united and shared vision of the resource
- Cost efficiency for decision making, thanks to a collective and participatory sharing of vision costs and means, with the help of inputs from technology and anticipation model and with the commitment of all users already actors in CED, into the project.
Main indicators of success are:
- the time it takes for the various partners participating in the project to collectively run the solution in the frame of the CED (here irrigators, EDF the hydroelectric operator, water supplying for the city of Marseilles) is necessarily long for sustainable operation in the long term (here it was only 2 years, thanks to active partnerships)
- the scale . The control system under jurisdiction of CED extends on 15 intakes, 100 000 hectares irrigated plains, 1500km canals, major cities and industrials borehole withdrawals secured by surface irrigation water seeping in the related aquifer, yearly average net withdrawals 1,300 million m3, and peak cumulated flowrate 85 m3/s in summer
- the best practice it provides: this initiative shows that water can be managed locally (catchment area and territory scale, within a watershed featuring conjunctive use by users of the same water either surface or underground)
This system can indeed be scaled up locally at first. It can be replicated in contexts with similar constraints for multiple use canal management authorities with for example main actors and more traditional canals with less organised or advanced, older or more heterogeneous water distribution features on their territory, etc.). A shared and thrifty collective vision of the resource is necessary to extend the proposed solution.
The main difficulties, and challenges, were both time and money: it took a long time to convince partners and have them work together, as well as to train them ; and costs of the web based supervisor had to be shared.
The solution implemented to strengthen CED’s management tools has requested time for participatory consultation and for training on the use of forecasting tools and on the definition of equipments. The implementation of a supervisor and its simplified consultation on the Web could only be achieved by pooling the means.
To be discussed further
Jean-Michel Reynes, Société des Eaux de Marseille: -firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerome Grangier Directeur CED : email@example.com
Jerome Hors DRAAF PACA: firstname.lastname@example.org
Denis Baudequin CGAAER :email@example.com
Dominique Roux EDF: Dominique-Ue-Med.Roux@edf.fr