The historic drought of summer 2022 leads local elected officials to step up the collective management of water resources. “We are almost up against the wall, the water file is an important file”introduced Christophe Guilloteau, President of the Rhône Department, during the public session of September 20, 2022.
A slow awakening to finally put the preservation of this resource on the agenda, through the development of the plan “Water and Rhône, Today and Tomorrow”.
A roadmap to guarantee equitable access to water
Actions are already in place to manage water resources, including funding and support for farmers. But the challenge today is to make the preservation of this resource a problem commonly managed by the actors of the Rhône.
“In a context of quantitative scarcity of water resources, it is urgent to act for the preservation of water in order to avoid conflicts and a rise in inequalities. Water must remain a solidarity resource”, indicated Colette Darphin, 1st vice-president of the Rhône in charge of territorial strategy, agriculture, rurality and sustainable development, during the presentation of the report in public session.
The Department plans to carry out a study in 2023 and a diagnosis shared between the authorities of the territory (communities of municipalities, Region, Chamber of Agriculture, etc.). The goal is for everyone to be able to refer to a common inventory and identify the same lines of work. It is also a matter of sharing land use planning decisions.
“Water and the Rhône, today and tomorrow”, but above all with yesterday’s solutions
Different areas of water use have already been identified: agricultural, domestic or industrial. For example, 600,0000 euros are planned to promote access to water in the agricultural sector, and 1.2 million euros to support irrigation projects.
In order to manage the quantities of water used, the elected officials propose to bring up to date ancestral techniques. “Why not draw water from the sky”, proposed Catherine Lotte, president of the Brévenne-Turdine Rivers Syndicate and departmental councilor for the canton of L’Arbresle.
Among the ideas proposed, it is a question of mobilizing already existing bodies of water, such as the Coise river. Other proposals consist of resorting to so-called “alternative” resources, such as the reuse of wastewater, the increase and recharge of underground water volumes, or even the increase of water infiltration in soil by providing them with more permeable surfaces.
At the foot of the wall, it is with old that we make new, the Rhône Department has understood this well.