3 questions to...
Martin Gutton Director General of the Loire-Brittany Water Agency
Why do you refer to your collaboration with BRGM as historical?
M. G. — Because to a certain extent we have grown up together... The Loire-Brittany Water Agency is one of six agencies across the country whose purpose, since they were set up some fifty years ago, is to monitor water quality in river basins. They are administrative establishments set up by the 1964 Water Act to support communities, industries and farms in managing their drinking water and sanitation investments.
Our activities focus on monitoring and restoring quality through the national water policy, with an annual budget of 2.1 billion euros. Since BRGM was set up in Orléans-La Source in 1965, our cooperation has never ceased: all the agencies work with it and its regional network.
What kinds of projects do you carry out together?
M. G. — For the entire country, I could mention projects such as the information system for groundwater management (SIGES), or the regional thematic portals accessible to experts, schools and the general public alike, where just a few clicks take you to updated local and national hydrogeological data. Another example is the national network of piezometers, which provides data on the quantitative status of water tables, under authority delegated to BRGM by the Ministry of Ecology.
As for the Loire-Brittany region, the POLDIF project is working on management tools for improving the quality of groundwater affected by pollutants such as nitrates or plant protection products (see p. 20). There is also the ICARE project, which is helping improve our understanding of aquifers by studying the water found in ancient massifs, in this case the Armorican Massif. The aim is to identify the main unexploited Tertiary basins in order to quantify their aquifer potential. This is a typical example of cooperation between a water agency and a scientific organisation such as BRGM.
To sum up...
M. G. — I think it’s fair to say that we can’t do without BRGM... This collaboration is becoming increasingly important with the acceleration of climate change and the disruption it brings. A new type of partnership is being set up through a renewed public-public cooperation framework, for the many projects already planned.