The basin approach in France (WWDR2, 2006)

Click on the map to access a detailed view. Map prepared for WWAP by AFDEC.

France's 6 major river basins have different climatic, hydrological and socio-economic characteristics. As challenges in each basin are different, each is managed by a separate basin agency and the regional, departmental and local administration, using an integrated water resource management approach. Most of these challenges are being addressed by updated laws and regulations, better management practices and utilization of the latest technology.

The Adour Garonne Basin is an agricultural area, where irrigated surfaces have doubled over twenty years. Decades of unsustainable use associated with heavy industry greatly deteriorated the Artois Picardy Basin's natural water resources. In the Loire Brittany Basin, intensive breeding of livestock and the development of cereal have had major impacts. The Rhine Meuse Basin is shared between 9 riparian countries. Pollution control, protection of ecosystems, prevention and early warning of industrial accidents are the current challenges. 64% of the national hydroelectric production is produced in the Rhone Mediterranean Basin, however dams have modified river flow and thermal characteristics causing an impoverishment of invertebrate fauna and riverside forests. 30% of the population of France lives in the Seine Normandy Basin alone, 80% of which live in urban areas.

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