Screenshot of the Data related to water section for Moldova in the EUWI+ website ©OIEau
In the framework of the EUWI+ project, French experts from the International Office for Water support Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in improving their data management capacities. Key points include supporting interinstitutional collaboration on data management, strengthening the information systems of the main data producers, developing interoperability to facilitate automatic data exchanges, and supporting data digitalisation, integration and processing and online visualisation tools for the six countries.
Efficient data management is fundamental to anticipate recurring conflicts between agriculture, the environment and tourism. In France, for example, the Ministry of Ecological Transition has made a forecast map of local water availability.
Information sharing and cooperation between different data producers
The map, drawn up in April by various French public water management organisations, indicates regions vulnerable to droughts.
- Map of the French regions vulnerable to droughts (prevision for summer 2020), from the region
- that are the most prone to droughts (red), to those less prone to droughts (yellow) ©Visactu
To establish this map, different layers of information from different French administrative bodies were superimposed: Météo France tracks precipitation, the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research (BRGM) monitors the state of groundwater, the regional environmental directorates (Dreal) measure river flows, and the French Office for Biodiversity provides observations on the state of wetlands and smaller rivers.
A map to anticipate and take appropriate measures
The idea of this map is to anticipate problems. In 2019, the drought situation aggravated by repeated heat waves had been badly prepared, and many areas of the country experienced long supply disruptions.
All local areas will be able to use this map and start implementing saving measures during the spring, i.e. several months before the big summer heat waves. This will help to avoid the conflicts between different water uses which occur in France, involving water to irrigate crops - especially maize, which requires the most irrigation in July – and other uses, such as pumping for municipal drinking water, industrial needs and tourism, with a constant aim to significant environmental damage.
More and more regions affected by droughts and water scarcity
The configuration of the 2020 map also provides interesting information. It confirms observations that have been made for several years, i.e. regions rarely affected by drought in the past are becoming prone to it.
If droughts are a natural phenomenon, water scarcity is the consequence of excessive water withdrawals. In France, 60% of water is consumed from June to August, when this resource is the least available. As the world's leading tourist destination, during these months the increased population triples the demand for drinking water for human consumption compared to the national average, as indicated in a report by the data service and statistical studies of the general commission for sustainable development published in May 2020 (L’environnement en France - Focus « Ressources naturelles » - The environment in France – Focus on "Natural resources").