Better understanding and preparing for the impact of global climate changes on water resources
Climate change affects the natural water cycle, increasing periods of drought and disrupting precipitation, especially with peaks now and then. Growing urbanisation and abstraction for agriculture are also changing aquifer cycles and the quality of groundwater, which is essential for both the drinking water supply and farming. Tensions over resources and conflicts over water uses may therefore become more common in certain regions.
These global changes require that available water resources be monitored, with the challenge being to provide seasonal forecasts of both their quantity and quality. BRGM keeps a constant watch on large water body systems across France, in particular through the French piezometric network. It also harnesses extensive analytical and geophysical resources to characterise aquifer systems and assess their quality. An innovation in 2019 was the use of passive groundwater samplers to obtain meaningful measurements of micropollutants at very low concentrations.
Research has focused on the joint management of surface and underground water resources and recharge, especially through optimised pumping. BRGM also studies the processes by which diffuse pollution – from pesticides and nitrates, for instance – is transferred to and transformed in aquifers. Lastly, it uses socio-economic approaches to develop governance tools that promote more sustainable management of groundwater resources at regional and local levels.
of the recharge of aquifers which may be affected in France by 2070, taking into account climate change scenarios, groundwater accounts for 62% of drinking water.